News organizations ask high court to open storm fine records

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A group of Pennsylvania news organizations wants the state Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that bars public access to records about PPL’s response to a major power outage in October 2011.

A lawyer for the news companies said at a hearing in Harrisburg on Wednesday that the state Public Utility Code authorizes the release of the records.

Lawyers for PPL and the Public Utility Commission rejected that argument and contended the state Right-to-Know Law protects the records from disclosure.

At issue are records including an anonymous letter from a PPL employee that said a crew restoring power in a high priority area was diverted to a lower priority area during the snowstorm.

PPL settled the case with the PUC and paid a $60,000 fine, but details remain confidential.

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