FirstEnergy Utilities Prepare for Summer Storms Company Offers Tips for Customers If Severe Weather Causes Power Outages

AKRON, Ohio, June 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) is preparing for the possible impact of summer storms predicted to hit parts of its utilities' service territory later today and continuing through Thursday.  Current forecasts anticipate the most severe weather could occur in Ohio, western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland.

As a result of the weather forecasts, which include the possibility of damaging winds, FirstEnergy has implemented its storm preparation process.  Company-wide conference calls have been held, which include reviewing line, hazard, dispatch and forestry crew staffing needs, and forestry and electrical contractors have been notified they could be required to assist with storm restoration efforts over the next several days.  In addition, FirstEnergy has been in contact with utility mutual assistance groups to determine if outside utility crews would be available to assist, if needed.

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 or click the "Report Outage" link on www.firstenergycorp.com via smartphone.

For updated information on the company's storm preparation efforts, current outages, FirstEnergy's storm restoration process and tips for staying safe, customers are urged to visit the 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages.  The operating companies also will provide updates via Twitter:

FirstEnergy's new texting and alert services and continued enhancements to its website and outage maps have made it easier for customers to report outages and obtain restoration information.

Customers can subscribe to receive alert notifications via email or text message that contain information about bills, weather conditions that may impact electrical service, or updates on reported outages.  Customers also can use text messaging to report outages, request updates on restoration efforts, and make other inquiries about their electric accounts. 

Customers can sign up for text messaging by texting REG to 544487 (LIGHTS).  Additional sign-up instructions, a guide to texting codes and terms and conditions, can be found online at www.firstenergycorp.com/connect.

The alert and text message services are provided free of charge to FirstEnergy customers; however, mobile carriers may charge customers to send and receive text messages or utilize data services.  Customers should contact their carrier for more details about message and data rates. 

The alert and text messaging services are the latest additions to the suite of mobile technology recently introduced for customers.  Earlier this year, the company launched smartphone apps for Apple® iPhone® and Android™ devices, and a mobile website that is accessible by using a smartphone to visit www.firstenergycorp.com.  Customers can also view power outages on FirstEnergy's mobile-accessible 24/7 Power Center outage maps or receive information, view photos and watch video on the company's social media accounts

Outage Preparation Tips

Customers can take the following steps to prepare for the possibility of outages caused by summer storms:

  • Keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy.  Use care when burning candles; open flames are a fire hazard.
  • 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 to a local 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 the power is out.  If you have a smart phone, this will ensure you have access to online information sources. 

Downed Wires

  • Customers should immediately report downed wires to their local utility 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.
  • Don't try to remove trees or tree limbs from power lines.  Wait for utility crews to arrive.

Customer Generators

  • 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, 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.

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.  Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.

"Apple®" and "iPhone®" are registered trademarks of Apple Inc.

SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.



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