State governments and electric utilities responded more effectively overall to Hurricane Sandy than local and federal governments did, according to J.D. Power and Associates' "2013 Hurricane Sandy Responsiveness Study."
The study is based on interviews with more than 5,900 U.S. residential customers in 31 utility territories impacted by the storm. The study measured responsiveness by electric utilities and local, state and federal governments across three areas -- preparedness, recovery support and communication effectiveness.
Residents rated state governments and electric utilities at 611 and 610, respectively, on a 1,000-point scale. They rated local governments at 598 and the federal government at 539 in overall responsiveness.
"Overall, the federal government does not receive high ratings from customers impacted by Hurricane Sandy. For utilities and local and state governments, the results are more mixed, with some receiving high ratings for their effectiveness of handling of the emergency and a few receiving low ratings," John Hazen, senior director of the energy utility practice at J.D. Power and Associates, said in a press statement.
The National Hurricane Center estimates Sandy caused $50 billion in damage and was the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history. About 8.5 million customers lost power, and 65,000 utility workers responded from 80 utilities. Of those surveyed for the study, 43 percent experienced a power outage of 24 hours or more. The average outage among all customers surveyed was 48 hours.
The customers who experienced a power outage longer than 24 hours indicated the biggest lesson they learned was to purchase survival gear, including flashlights and non-perishable food, ahead of a major storm.
Thirty-seven percent of customers said that they were very prepared for Hurricane Sandy, but, only 20 percent perceived that their local community was very prepared, according to the survey.