Utility agency ordered to release records that led to fine

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania’s high court is ordering the release of investigative records concerning PPL’s response to a 2011 power outage that resulted in a $60,000 fine.

The state Supreme Court’s 4-to-2 decision last week reinstates an Office of Open Records order to release the records. A group of Pennsylvania news organizations had appealed a lower court ruling backing the Public Utility Commission’s effort to keep the records secret.

The investigative records include 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.

Justice Max Baer’s opinion says utility law allows the public to see what the utility commission considered before entering a settlement agreement with a public utility.

He says redactions may be used to shield a confidential source’s identity.

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