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After Sandy, Utility Companies Consider Ways to Better Restoration

File photo. iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The nor'easter that slammed into the East Coast this week wasn't as bad for Hurricane Sandy victims as was expected. But approximately 700,000 customers in the Northeast are still without power, and that has utility companies, and their customers, considering ways to make restoration quicker.

For some, the idea of burying the lines underground seems like an attractive option. Repairing what’s currently overhead in most areas does seem like an exercise in futility: put a power line up only to have the next storm knock it down.

“In areas where hurricanes repeatedly come that's exactly what they do,” said Clark Gellings at the Electric Power Research Institute. “They put it up, it gets torn down, and they put it back up again.”

Another option, he says, might be drone technology. Though more often associated with an anti-terror campaign, Gellings says drones could help utilities restore power faster.

“Drones have special cameras and other sensors on them that can actually tell you what roads are clear,” he said, adding that utilities are good at finding manpower, but often bad at deploying it.

Other technology, like tablets, could help linesmen communicate with warehouses and dispatch to get supplies where they're needed.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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