AKRON, Ohio, July 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 3,200 employees from Mon Power, Potomac Edison, West Penn Power, Ohio Edison and other FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) utilities, assisted by crews from outside contractors and utilities, continue their around-the-clock efforts to restore service to utility customers following Friday night's severe thunderstorm that left 566,000 customers without power in West Virginia, Maryland, western Pennsylvania and central Ohio.
As of 1:30 p.m. Sunday, FirstEnergy utilities have restored service to more than 314,000 of the more than 566,000 customers affected by the damaging storm.
Personnel from FirstEnergy's other utilities – Toledo Edison, The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, Metropolitan Edison, Pennsylvania Power Company, Pennsylvania Electric Company and Jersey Central Power & Light – have been deployed in the hardest-hit areas. In addition, approximately 1,000 contractors and outside utility crew members from Michigan, Florida, New York and Kentucky will be assisting with the restoration process.
Estimated customer outage restoration times are as follows:
- Mon Power: West Virginia was the hardest-hit area, with severe wind damage reported to the company's transmission lines. Helicopters are being used to inspect the more than 50 transmission lines that have been impacted. The company estimates that the majority of affected customers in the Weirton area will be restored around midnight tonight and customers in the Morgantown area restored around midnight Monday. Estimated restoration times for other areas will be later this week. Overall, approximately 91,000 of the 280,000 affected customers have been restored.
- Potomac Edison: 147,000 customers were originally affected by the storm – approximately 63,000 in Maryland and 84,000 in West Virginia. To date, 42,000 Maryland customers have been restored and 52,000 in West Virginia. Due to the severity of the damage, the remaining Potomac Edison customers in West Virginia will be restored later this week. The majority of the remaining Maryland customers will be restored by late Tuesday and Wednesday. However, some small pockets and individual customers in the hardest hit areas in Allegany County will be restored by Thursday.
- West Penn Power: 95 percent of the 63,000 customers who lost power in western Pennsylvania will be restored around midnight tonight, with the remainder around midnight Monday.
- Ohio Edison: The majority of customers affected in the Mansfield area will be restored this evening; customers in the Marion area will be restored by Monday evening; and customers in the Springfield area will be restored by Tuesday evening. Overall, 72,000 Ohio Edison customers were affected.
"We're bringing every available resource to the task of restoring power to our customers," said Steve Strah, vice president, Utility Operations, FirstEnergy Utilities. "We're also working closely with customers as well as state and local officials to keep them informed regarding our service restoration progress."
FirstEnergy crews and contractors are utilizing the company's restoration process, which is designed to restore power safely and efficiently for affected customers:
- First, crews focus on securing hazardous situations such as downed wires to protect public safety.
- Priority also is given to transmission lines, hospitals, communications facilities, emergency response agencies and substation facilities that supply power for local distribution systems.
- Repairs are then made to circuits serving the largest number of customers, followed by restoration of service to individual homes.
As debris from the storm continues to be cleared, customers are cautioned never to touch downed lines. Customers should always assume downed wires are carrying electricity and are reminded to keep their children and pets away from downed wires. Downed wires should be reported immediately to your electric company or local police or fire department. Customers should never try to remove trees or limbs from power lines because they could conduct electricity; instead, wait for emergency services or utility crews to arrive.
Customers may notice hazard responders in areas with downed wires. Their job is to stay on the scene and prevent the public from contacting fallen, energized lines until line crews can make repairs. In addition, temporary repairs may be performed to make an area safe and restore as many customers on a circuit as possible. If crews leave an area to make temporary repairs elsewhere, they will return as soon as possible to complete the remaining work.
For up-to-date information on the company's restoration effort, current outages, FirstEnergy's storm restoration process and tips for staying safe, go to www.firstenergycorp.com
During significant service interruptions, outage information is also available via the company's Twitter accounts.
Maryland & West Virginia
A list of all accounts is available here: www.firstenergycorp.com/newsroom/social_media.
In addition, customers can view timely, accurate and easy-to-use outage information through FirstEnergy's "24/7 Power Center" maps, accessible on desktops, smart phones and mobile devices at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages.
Reporting an Outage
If your lights go out, contact your local electric utility by calling the automated outage reporting line at 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877).
- Immediately report downed wires to your electric company or local police or fire department. Never go near a downed power line, even if you 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.
During large-scale weather events, FirstEnergy urges all customers to follow the advice and recommendations of emergency management officials. The company also offers the following tips for customers experiencing an outage:
Safety Tips During Outages
- Keep flashlights and fresh batteries in your home. Avoid using candles to light your home, especially around children and pets.
- Make sure you have fresh batteries in a portable radio so you can stay tuned to your local radio station for updates on our progress to restore power.
- 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.
Mon Power serves 500,000 customers in 47 West Virginia counties; Potomac Edison serves approximately 250,000 customers in seven Maryland counties and 135,000 customers in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia; West Penn Power serves 715,000 customers in 21 Pennsylvania counties; and Ohio Edison serves more 1 million customers in Ohio.
FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies comprise one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems. Its diverse generating fleet features non-emitting nuclear, scrubbed baseload coal, natural gas, and pumped-storage hydro and other renewables, and has a total generating capacity of nearly 23,000 megawatts.