AKRON, Ohio, Oct. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) utilities Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L), Penelec, Met-Ed, West Penn Power and Potomac Edison are preparing now for the possible impact of Hurricane Sandy and other severe weather predicted for early next week.
Weather forecasters are predicting a very powerful, damaging, multi-day storm with high winds, heavy precipitation and flooding across a wide portion of the east coast. Depending on the severity of the storm's impact on the electrical system, customers are encouraged to prepare for the possibility of power outages lasting up to seven to 10 days by taking action before the storm occurs:
- Keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy. Use care when burning candles; open flames are a fire hazard.
- Gather extra blankets or a sleeping bag for each person. Do not use gas stoves, kerosene heaters or other open-flame heat sources to prevent deadly carbon monoxide gas from building up in your home.
- If you have a water well and pump, keep an emergency supply of bottled water and/or fill your bathtub with fresh water.
- 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. If you have a smart phone, this will ensure you have access to online information sources.
As a result of the weather forecasts, FirstEnergy is mobilizing internal crews and support personnel to assist in the restoration process if the storm causes large-scale power outages in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. In addition, the company is securing outside utility crews, electrical contractors and tree contractors.
"Based on current predictions, we are making plans to position our crews to get ahead of the storm and minimize the impact on our customers," said Chuck Jones, president of FirstEnergy Utilities. "FirstEnergy crews and additional hazard teams and support staff are ready to assist the restoration process."
FirstEnergy customer call centers will be fully staffed. Customers who are without power are encouraged to call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report their outage. In the event of severe weather, 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 you 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 electrician. When operating a generator, always disconnect the power coming into your home. Otherwise, power from your generator could be sent back onto the utility lines, creating a hazardous situation for utility workers.
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_help. The 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
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.