AKRON, Ohio, Feb. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) utility personnel are prepared to respond to any outages caused by severe winter weather forecast across most of its utilities' service territories later today and into Wednesday.
The storm is expected to produce a wintry mix of ice and heavy snow, with current forecasts projecting the most severe conditions in central Pennsylvania and western Maryland.
All of FirstEnergy's 10 electric utilities have activated storm response plans, including staffing additional dispatchers and analysts at regional dispatch offices, and making arrangements to bring in additional line, substation and forestry personnel, as required, based on the severity of the weather. In addition, FirstEnergy is bringing in contractors to assist with its storm restoration efforts.
"We are monitoring the weather conditions closely and are making plans to deploy resources to the areas that could get hit the hardest," said Steven E. Strah, vice president, Distribution Support, FirstEnergy. "The ultimate goal of our pre-planning efforts is to speed the restoration process and minimize any inconvenience our customers experience due to the weather."
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. In the event of severe weather, customers should immediately report downed wires to their utility or their 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 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.
In addition, customers can use FirstEnergy's text messaging service to report outages and receive updates on reported outages. Text REG to 544487 (LIGHTS) to get started.
For updated information on the company's current outages, FirstEnergy's storm restoration process and tips for staying safe, visit the 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages.
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.
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. Follow FirstEnergy and its operating companies on Twitter: @FirstEnergyCorp, @ToledoEdison, @IlluminatingCo, @OhioEdison, @MonPowerWV, @JCP_L, @Penn_Power, @Penelec, @Met_Ed, @PotomacEdison, @W_Penn_Power.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.