AKRON, Ohio, July 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) utilities have restored service to more than 350,000 of the 566,000 customers in West Virginia, Maryland, western Pennsylvania and central Ohio that were affected by the storm that hit the region on Friday night.
In West Virginia, helicopters are being used to assist in the restoration of 67 transmission lines 69-kilovolt and above that were damaged as a result of the storm. As repairs are made to the damaged portions of the transmission system in West Virginia, the company expects thousands of additional customers to be back in service over the next several days.
More than 5,100 linemen, hazard responders, forestry workers, call center representatives, management and support personnel are currently working around the clock to restore service to affected customers. The workforce includes approximately 4,000 from all 10 FirstEnergy utilities and support groups, and 1,100 from contractors and other utility companies. Additional resources are expected as they become available.
"As a result of the significant damage from the storm, we are in the process of rebuilding sections of our transmission system in West Virginia, which ultimately will help us restore a larger number of customers without power," said Steve Strah, vice president, Utility Operations, FirstEnergy Utilities. "Using helicopters to patrol the lines and assess the damage – particularly in remote mountainous areas – has helped pinpoint problem locations and focus our restoration efforts."
As of noon Monday, estimated customer outage restoration times are as follows:
- Mon Power: West Virginia was the hardest-hit area. Approximately 159,000 customers remain without power. The company estimates that the majority of affected customers in the Morgantown area will be restored around midnight Tuesday. Estimated restoration times for other locations will be later this week.
- Potomac Edison: Approximately 10,000 customers in Maryland and 28,000 in West Virginia remain without power. Due to the severity of the damage, the remaining 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.
- Ohio Edison: Approximately 8,000 customers remain without power. Affected customers in the Marion area will be restored by Tuesday evening, with customers in the hardest-hit area of Springfield restored by Wednesday evening.
- West Penn Power: Less than 1,500 customers remain without power. The majority will be restored by midnight tonight, with a few isolated customers restored tomorrow.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.