Empire District Electric is one of four companies under investigation by the Missouri Public Service Commission.

The investigation was initiated after a December ice storm that left 65,000 Empire customers without power for as many as 14 days.

While most local Empire customers were without power four to five days, several customers in Welch did not have power for up to nine days, according to Welch City Clerk Tish Stoelzing.

Officials in Commerce said residents there were without power five or six days.

Investigators will visit the corporate headquarters in the next few weeks to examine call-center operations, vegetation management, Web site operations, crew dispatching and media relations.

“The PSC staff will be working with the utility company's internal investigations,” said PSC spokesman Kevin Kelly.

Kelly said Empire has never been a part of this type of investigation.

As far as the electric company itself, a response assessment has not been completed yet, according to Empire spokesperson Amy Bass.

“An investigation of this type is standard procedure with a storm of this magnitude,” Bass said.

Kelly said PSC will be taking a detailed look into Empire's storm preparations. They will also be looking for customer input as part of the investigation.

“We want to know if people called to report an outage and couldn't get through to the company,” Kelly said. “Or if they got through but didn't get a satisfactory response, or if the person on the other end was professional, or if they promised things that they didn't do.”

Kelly said PSC wants to look at ways to limit the number of days people have to be without power.

Empire is not the only company being investigated by the Missouri PSC. Ameren, Aquila and Kansas City Power & Light are all a part of the investigation.

Anyone who wants to submit written comments to the commission may do so by mailing the comments to the Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 360, Jefferson City, MO 65102.

Comments may also be submitted electronically at pscinfo@psc.mo.gov.