Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Bill Maloney says better planning could have made a big difference in the ongoing response to Hurricane Sandy in West Virginia.
“It takes four times longer than the national average to get us back online,” Maloney said of the power outages that were still in the thousands in West Virginia on Friday.
“I know we have terrain issues and we’ve got snow, but that, to me, is unacceptable.” He says the Mountain State is one of only 12 states with no reliability standards for power companies.
Maloney, who has been out this week in Preston County and other hard hit areas, also says state officials should have learned some lessons from the June 29th derecho.
“This summer, we talked about, ‘Let’s get prepared. Let’s have generators in place in places for critical things like water plants,’ and there’s people without water because they don’t have generators,” he said on Friday’s MetroNews Talkline.
“You’ve got to learn from your mistakes and it doesn’t seem like anybody’s learned here.”
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin had something to say about Maloney’s criticisms.
“I take offense to anyone who would come on and say that we weren’t prepared for this emergency. We’ve been working on it, watching the storm since last Thursday,” Governor Tomblin said.
“I’ve been in almost all of the major affected counties and to see the kind of trees that are down and the amount of snow is unbelievable.”
State Homeland Security and Emergency Services Director Jimmy Gianato says now is not the time for Maloney’s complaints. “It’s a slap in the face to those responders that have worked so hard to criticize them for what they’ve done,” he said.
Election Day is Tuesday and some precincts in West Virginia may have to be moved because of Sandy’s effects.
Early voting continues through Saturday.