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    State officials press National Grid on response to storms

    Under sharp questioning from state authorities Monday, National Grid officials defended their response to Tropical Storm Irene and last October’s surprise snowstorm, saying the magnitude of the damage made widespread outages unavoidable.

    Representatives from the power company, which came under harsh criticism for prolonged ­outages after the storms, spoke at a hearing before state regulators, who are reviewing whether utilities should have restored service more quickly.

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