AKRON, Ohio, Oct. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As Hurricane Sandy moves up the East Coast, FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) utilities Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L), Metropolitan Edison (Met-Ed), Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec), West Penn Power, Mon Power and Potomac Edison are mobilizing employees and resources to help aid the restoration process after the storm causes customer power outages early next week.
In New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, Hurricane Sandy is expected to produce torrential rain and high winds, along with inland and coastal severe flooding. In addition, wet snow and high winds are forecasted for western Maryland, West Virginia, central Pennsylvania, and Ohio, particularly in the higher elevations.
"We have mobilized our internal crews and support personnel to assist in the restoration process if the storm causes large-scale power outages," said Steven E. Strah, vice president, Distribution Support, FirstEnergy. "In addition, we have secured outside utility crews, electrical contractors and tree contractors and continue our efforts to locate even more line crews from other utilities through our membership in mutual assistance organizations."
FirstEnergy customer call centers will be fully staffed. Customers without power are encouraged to call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report their outage or click the "Report Outage" link on www.firstenergycorp.com. Customers should immediately report downed wires to their electric company or local police or fire department. Customers should never go near a downed power line, even if they think it's no longer carrying electricity.
Emergency power generators offer an option for customers needing or wanting uninterrupted service. However, to ensure the safety of the home's occupants as well as that of utility company employees who may be working on power lines in the area, the proper generator should be selected and installed by a qualified, licensed electrician. When operating a generator, the power coming into the home should always be disconnected. Otherwise, power from the generator could be sent back onto the utility lines, creating a hazardous situation for utility workers and the public. In addition, generators should only be used outdoors and only in well-ventilated areas.
For updated information on the company's storm preparation efforts, current outages, FirstEnergy's storm restoration process and tips for staying safe, visit the 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages. JCP&L customers can find the latest information on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JCPandL. FirstEnergy operating companies will also provide updates via Twitter:
- JCP&L: @JCP_L
- Penelec: @Penelec
- Met-Ed: @Met_Ed
- Potomac Edison: @PotomacEdison
- West Penn Power: @W_Penn_Power
- Mon Power: @MonPowerWV
Depending on the severity of the storm's impact on the electrical system, customers are encouraged to stay safe by preparing for the possibility of power outages lasting up to seven to 10 days by taking action before the storm occurs:
- If you have a water well and pump, keep an emergency supply of bottled water and consider filling your bathtub with fresh water.
- Keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy. Use care when burning candles; open flames are a fire hazard.
- If power goes out, unplug appliances like refrigerators and freezers, and sensitive electronic equipment like TVs and computers, so that they won't overload when power is restored.
- Gather extra blankets or a sleeping bag for each person. Portable heaters and burning candles that are left unattended, especially around children and pets, can create a fire hazard. In addition, gasoline- or diesel-powered generators and appliances can produce deadly levels of carbon monoxide and should never be operated inside the home or garage.
- Stock an emergency supply of convenience foods that do not require cooking.
- Keep a battery-powered radio with extra batteries on hand. Tune in to a local radio station for current storm information.
- Have a hard-wired telephone or a charged cell phone handy in the event you need to report your electricity is out. Mobile phones can be charged in your vehicle using a car charger when power is out. A smart phone can be used to access online information sources.
- Stay out of flooded basements, even if the power is off. Stay away from the breaker box if it's in a flooded basement.
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 Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia. Its generation subsidiaries control more than 20,000 megawatts of capacity from a diversified mix of scrubbed coal, non-emitting nuclear, natural gas, hydro, pumped-storage hydro and other renewables. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.