AKRON, Ohio, March 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) is preparing for the possible impact of heavy snow and high winds predicted to hit parts of its utilities' service territory beginning Wednesday. Current forecasts predict that the most severe weather will occur in Maryland, central and northern New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania.
As part of the company's proactive storm response, more than 300 line personnel and hazard responders from FirstEnergy utilities in Ohio and western Pennsylvania are being redeployed to areas served by Potomac Edison in Maryland, Jersey Central Power & Light, and Metropolitan Edison that could be affected by the high winds and snow.
Other steps FirstEnergy is taking to prepare for the heavy snow and high winds include:
- Securing additional tree contractors to assist with the outage restoration process in the hardest hit areas
- Communicating with emergency management officials, state officials, regulators and local officials about our storm preparation efforts
- Working with mutual assistance groups to determine if outside utility crews would be available to assist, if needed.
FirstEnergy customers also can utilize a new free smartphone app to report outages and access important information and services related to their electric accounts. The app is available for Apple® iPhone® and Android™ smartphones. Customers can use the keyword "FirstEnergy" to locate the apps in the online store. A new mobile website is also available to customers who use a smartphone to visit www.firstenergycorp.com.
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.
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:
- Toledo Edison: @ToledoEdison
- The Illuminating Company: @IlluminatingCo
- Ohio Edison: @OhioEdison
- Mon Power: @MonPowerWV
- JCP&L: @JCP_L
- Penn Power: @Penn_Power
- Penelec: @Penelec
- Met-ED: @Met_Ed
- Potomac Edison: @PotomacEdison
- West Penn Power: @W_Penn_Power
Customers can take the following steps to prepare for the possibility of outages caused by winter storms:
- Keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy. Use care when burning candles; open flames are a fire hazard.
- Gather extra blankets or a sleeping bag for each person. Do not use gas stoves, kerosene heaters or other open-flame heat sources to prevent deadly carbon monoxide gas from building up in your home.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Its generation subsidiaries control more than 20,000 megawatts of capacity from a diversified mix of scrubbed coal, non-emitting nuclear, natural gas, pumped-storage hydro and other renewables. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.