AKRON, Ohio, Jan. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- As the large winter storm works its way across the eastern U.S., FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) utilities are taking steps to mobilize additional linemen, hazard responders and forestry personnel to assist in the areas of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey expected to be hit the hardest.
Utility crews and support workers from Toledo Edison as well as local and outside contractors are traveling to assist in the Mon Power service area in West Virginia. In addition, personnel from Ohio Edison and contractors are being staged in Reading, Pa., to be ready to provide assistance, as needed, in Metropolitan Edison's (Met-Ed) service area, Potomac Edison areas in Maryland, or Jersey Central Power & Light's (JCP&L) service areas in northern and central New Jersey.
Hazard responders from FirstEnergy's corporate office in Akron also are traveling to JCP&L, while local electrical contractors will assist, as needed.
"FirstEnergy can rapidly deploy resources across our six-state service area to help restore service to customers more quickly," said Mark Julian, vice president, Utility Operations, FirstEnergy. "Local crews working along with those deployed from other FirstEnergy companies not impacted by the storm make a strong team to help get the restoration job done."
The heavy snow and high winds could result in difficult travel conditions for FirstEnergy crews. Poor road conditions, coupled with the ongoing snowfall, could hamper efforts to access areas with damage to make repairs.
Customers should never go near a downed power line, even if they think it is no longer carrying electricity. Extra caution should be used in areas where downed lines are tangled in trees or other debris. In the event of severe weather, customers should immediately report downed wires to their utility or their local police or fire department.
When outages do occur, customers are reminded to immediately report the outage to their utility. Customer outage reports are the first step to help the company pinpoint damage locations and restore power more quickly.
Outages can be reported by calling 888-LIGHTSS (888-544-4877) or through the following channels:
- Website: Visit www.firstenergycorp.com from a computer or smartphone
- App: Download your utility's free app for your phone
- Text message: Text OUT to 544487. (New users will be prompted to register their account. Standard message and data rates may apply.)
In addition to the alert notification service, customers who report their outages can view their personal outage status information by logging in to their online account on the website or by texting STAT to 544487. Customers who have not registered their account online can still review general outage information for their community on the company's 24/7 Power Center outage maps. FirstEnergy customer call centers also will be fully staffed.
In the event of an outage, customers can take these steps to stay safe and warm:
- Bundle up in a room away from an outside wall using sleeping bags, blankets and warm clothing.
- Use a sturdy fireplace screen when using a fireplace or wood-burning stove to prevent a house fire.
- Never use a gas stove, charcoal grill or lantern intended for outdoor use inside your home. That could produce a buildup of deadly carbon monoxide gas.
- Use battery-operated lanterns and flashlights for illumination rather than burning candles which present a fire hazard.
- Never use a portable generator inside the house or a closed garage. Ensure the proper generator is selected and installed by a qualified electrician. While operating a generator, power coming into the home must be disconnected to prevent power from the generator from being sent back on to the utility lines and endangering utility workers.
FirstEnergy utilities include: Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Company and Toledo Edison in Ohio; Metropolitan Edison Company (Met-Ed), Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec), Pennsylvania Power (Penn Power), and West Penn Power in Pennsylvania; Mon Power in West Virginia; Potomac Edison in Maryland; and Jersey Central Power & Light in New Jersey.
Connect with the companies online at www.firstenergycorp.com, on Twitter at @OhioEdison, @IlluminatingCo, @ToledoEdison, @Met_Ed, @Penelec, @Penn_Power, @W_Penn_Power, @JCP_L, @MonPowerWV, or @PotomacEdison, or on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/OhioEdison, www.Facebook.com/ToledoEdison, www.Facebook.com/IlluminatingCo, www.Facebook.com/MetEdElectric, www.Facebook.com/PenelecElectric, www.Facebook.com/PennPower, www.Facebook.com/WestPennPower, www.Facebook.com/JCPandL.
FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.