The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) will conduct a series of eight public meetings to gather public comments on storm preparation and power restoration efforts by two of the state’s investor-owned electric utilities in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, which made landfall on Aug. 28, 2011.

The DPU will hold four meetings in each company’s service territory and will collect written public comment until 5 p.m. on Nov. 23, 2011. The DPU is holding hearings in the hardest hit regions of each company’s service territory and encourages customers to attend any of the four meetings as well as submit written comments to Mark D. Marini, Secretary, Department of Public Utilities, One South Station, Boston, Massachusetts 02110.

The DPU is reviewing each company’s 30-day post-storm report, which was due on Oct. 3. In response to customer and municipal concerns, the DPU also opened investigations on Sept. 15 into National Grid and NSTAR’s storm response focusing on the companies’ efforts to restore electric power, including their communications with affected communities. The investigations will determine whether the companies complied with DPU regulations and fully implemented their Emergency Response Plans, which were last filed in May 2011.

The DPU’s investigations are focused on compliance with DPU’s performance standards for emergency preparation and restoration of service, including: (1) preparation for and management of the restoration efforts with respect to Tropical Storm Irene; (2) allocation of company resources in the affected communities; (3) communications with state, local municipal and public safety officials, and with the department; (4) dissemination of timely information to the public; and (5) identification of company practices requiring improvement, if any.