AKRON, Ohio, Feb. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) utilities Penelec, West Penn Power and Met-Ed are preparing to respond to potential outages that may result from a significant nor'easter forecast to affect Pennsylvania over the next several days. Beginning tomorrow and into the weekend, the storm is expected to produce up to a foot of heavy, wet snow across portions of northeast Pennsylvania.
Additional FirstEnergy resources from Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and other parts of Pennsylvania are mobilizing to assist with the restoration process should the storm impact customers' service. More than 100 utility crews and additional support personnel from FirstEnergy's Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Company, Mon Power, Potomac Edison and Penn Power utilities are expected to arrive today and will be ready to begin restoration work when the storm hits.
"We have been monitoring this weather system since early this week and have been preparing to minimize the impact the severe weather could have on our customers," said Doug Elliott, president of FirstEnergy's Pennsylvania Operations. "Proactive mobilization of additional linemen, vehicles and supplies from other FirstEnergy utilities will help speed the restoration process if the snow and winds damage our equipment and cause service interruptions. In addition, we continue to work to secure commitments from outside contractor crews and through mutual assistance groups for additional resources to deploy as needed."
Severe winter weather can bring down power lines, and customers should immediately report downed wires to their electric company, local police or fire department. Customers should never go near a downed power line, even if they think it is no longer carrying electricity.
FirstEnergy customer call centers are 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 via a mobile device.
Customers are encouraged 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.
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: @Penelec, @Met_Ed and @W_Penn_Power
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 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 Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia. 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.