FirstEnergy Positions 2,000 Employees, Including Linemen and Support Personnel, to Respond to Major East Coast Snowstorm

Oct 29, 2011, 13:03 ET from FirstEnergy Corp.

AKRON, Ohio, Oct. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A convoy of linemen and support personnel from FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) traveled to New Jersey and Pennsylvania late yesterday and early this morning in preparation for power outages likely to result from an early snowstorm that is pounding the east coast, including several areas served by FirstEnergy utility companies.  

Approximately 2,000 company personnel are involved in the storm preparation efforts, including employees from FirstEnergy utilities Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L), Metropolitan Edison (Met-Ed), West Penn Power, Penelec, Mon Power and Potomac Edison – companies whose areas are expected to be affected by the storm.  Linemen, dispatchers, hazard responders, damage assessors, mechanics, supervisors and call center representatives are positioned to quickly and safely respond to the storm.

Wet snow and high winds from the early snowstorm could cause significant damage to the electrical system, especially since leaves remain on trees and heavy, snow-laden branches may fall onto power lines.  Severe weather has been predicted for northern New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania throughout this evening.  In addition, heavy snowfall and high winds are affecting parts of northern and central Pennsylvania served by West Penn Power and Penelec, parts of Maryland served by Potomac Edison and areas of West Virginia served by Mon Power.  

"We are prepared to work around the clock to restore service to our customers affected by this storm," said Mark Julian, vice president, Utility Operations, FirstEnergy.  "Employees and resources from throughout FirstEnergy's 10 utilities are available to help.  We have crews and equipment staged in areas expected to be hard-hit by this weather and are prepared to use additional outside utility crews and tree contractors to help with the outage restoration process if we need them."

For updated information on the company's preparation efforts for the early snowstorm, current outages, FirstEnergy's storm restoration process and tips for staying safe, go to www.firstenergycorp.com.  

In a large-scale weather event, FirstEnergy urges all customers to follow the advice and recommendations of emergency management officials.  The company also offers the following tips if customers experience an outage:

Reporting an Outage

  • If your lights go out, contact your local electric utility to report an outage.  JCP&L, Penelec and Met-Ed customers should call the automated reporting line at 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877).  Potomac Edison, West Penn Power and Mon Power customers should call 1-800-255-3443.
  • 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.

Safety Tips During Outages

  • Keep flashlights and fresh batteries in your home.  Avoid using candles to light your home, especially around children and pets.
  • Never use a gas stove, charcoal grill or lantern intended for outdoor use inside your home.
  • 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.  
  • Keep your cell phone battery charged and have an extra charged battery handy.  A cell phone will work as long as the nearest cell tower has power or you have battery backup power.

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, 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.

Customers with Wells and Pumps

  • Keep an emergency supply of bottled water on hand – and consider filling a bathtub with water.
  • If you have a backup generator, be sure you know how to use it safely.

JCP&L serves 1.1 million customers in 13 New Jersey counties; Met-Ed serves 560,000 customers in 13 Pennsylvania counties; West Penn Power serves nearly 720,000 customers in Pennsylvania; Penelec serves 590,000 customers in Pennsylvania; Potomac Edison serves approximately 250,000 customers in seven Maryland counties and 135,000 customers in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia; and Mon Power serves nearly 390,000 customers in West Virginia.

FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence.  Its 10 electric distribution companies comprise the nation's largest investor-owned electric system.  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.

SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.



RELATED LINKS

http://www.firstenergycorp.com