AKRON, Ohio, July 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) utilities have restored service to more than 262,000 of the 327,000 customers in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and New Jersey who lost power following widespread, severe storms that hit the region Thursday.
Company linemen, hazard responders, forestry workers, call center representatives, management and support personnel currently are working around the clock to restore service to affected customers. In addition, electrical contractors from Michigan, Indiana, Virginia and New York also are being brought in to assist with the restoration effort.
The hardest-hit areas are in western and central Pennsylvania served by FirstEnergy's West Penn Power and Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec) utilities. Winds in excess of 60 mph blew down trees and branches, damaging electrical equipment in hundreds of locations. As part of the restoration effort, helicopters are being used to inspect electric lines and assess the damage.
As of noon Friday, estimated customer outage restoration times are as follows:
- Penelec: Approximately 35,000 customers remain without power. The majority will be restored Saturday into Sunday.
- West Penn Power: Approximately 23,000 customers remain without power. The majority will be restored by midnight Saturday, with the remainder completed Sunday.
- Mon Power: Approximately 4,800 customers remain without power. The majority will be restored by midnight tonight.
- Penn Power: Approximately 1,300 customers remain without power. The majority will be restored by midnight tonight.
- JCP&L: Approximately 900 customers remain without power. All customers will be restored by this evening.
- Met-Ed: Less than 500 customers remain without power. Restoration should be completed late Friday into early Saturday.
- Ohio Edison: Less than 500 customers without power. Restoration is expected by this evening.
FirstEnergy crews and contractors are utilizing the company's restoration process, which is designed to restore power safely and efficiently:
- 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.
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.
Stay Away from Downed Wires
- 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.
Reporting an Outage
- If your lights go out, contact your local electric utility to report an outage by calling the automated reporting line at 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877).
- 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 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.
During significant service interruptions, outage information is also available via the company's Twitter accounts. A list of all accounts is available here: www.firstenergycorp.com/newsroom/social_media.
In Ohio, Ohio Edison serves more than one million customers, Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company serves more than 740,000 customers, and Toledo Edison serves more than 300,000 customers; in Pennsylvania, Met-Ed serves 540,000 customers, Penelec serves 590,000 customers, West Penn Power serves nearly 720,000 customers, and Penn Power serves 161,000 customers; in New Jersey, Jersey Central Power & Light serves 1.1 million customers; in West Virginia, Mon Power serves nearly 390,000 customers; and Potomac Edison serves approximately 250,000 customers in seven Maryland counties and 135,000 customers in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.
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.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.