Cable operators grapple with damage from snow plows and power outages

Nemo hits Northeast cable systems owned by Charter, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision
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While major cable operators in the Northeast said most of the service outages they saw over the weekend were the result of power outages, some MSOs said the storm also caused minor damage to their network and equipment.

"We experienced minor plant and equipment damage, mostly a result of plows hitting pedestals. Since the town of Westport (Mass.) had the most impact from power-related outages, over 1,000 Charter (Nasdaq: CHTR) customers will continue to experience an interruption of service until power is fully restored," Charter spokesman John Miller told FierceCable Monday.

The winter storm, which The Weather Channel named Nemo, dumped more than two feet of snow in Boston and other parts of New England. Miller said more than 11,000 Charter customers lost service during the height of the snowstorm late Friday and early Saturday, but that 75 percent of its customers had service restored within 24 hours.

Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) spokeswoman Beth Bacha said most of the cable outages the MSO saw were related to commercial power outages. She said the MSO increased staffing and had employees working overtime during the storm, and the company prepared for the storm by sending back-up generators and other supplies to systems in areas where the storm was expected to hit. Comcast didn't say how many subscribers lost service or remain without service.

Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) spokesman Justin Venech said less than 1 percent of its customers in New England and the New York City area were affected by the storm. Most of the outages TWC subscribers experienced were related to the loss of electricity, he added.

Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) spokeswoman Charlstie Veith said the MSO "experienced very limited service interruptions, primarily in eastern Long Island, where there were both power and road access issues." The MSO was able to keep its WiFi network of 60,000 hotspots operational throughout the storm, she added.

Special Coverage: Hurricane Sandy's aftermath

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