AKRON, Ohio, March 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) utility personnel are prepared to respond should the heavy, wet snow forecast for much of the Mid-Atlantic region cause power outages beginning later today.
Company meteorologists are monitoring a strong winter storm system that is expected to produce more than a foot of wet, heavy snow and wind gusts in excess of 45 mph in some of FirstEnergy's service areas in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, New Jersey and Ohio. The heavier the snow, the greater the chances of falling trees and broken limbs contacting power lines, which are a primary cause of power outages.
"We are monitoring the weather conditions closely and are making plans to deploy resources to the areas that could get hit the hardest," said Mark Julian, vice president, Utility Operations, FirstEnergy. "Preparation efforts include reviewing operational procedures with employees for making repairs safely in heavy snow conditions and readying our vehicles to operate on wet and slippery roadways."
The FirstEnergy utilities that are forecast to be affected by the weather event include: Metropolitan Edison Company (Met-Ed), Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec), Pennsylvania Power (Penn Power), and West Penn Power in Pennsylvania; Mon Power in West Virginia; Potomac Edison in Maryland and the eastern Panhandle of West Virginia; Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) in New Jersey; and Ohio Edison (southern areas) in Ohio.
All of FirstEnergy's utilities are reviewing storm response plans, which include making arrangements to bring in additional line, substation and forestry personnel, and additional dispatchers and analysts at regional dispatch offices, as required, based on the severity of the weather.
The company also has been in contact with electric industry mutual assistance organizations about the possibility of securing additional resources to assist with storm restoration efforts.
Other steps FirstEnergy utilities are taking to prepare for possible weather impacts include:
- Airing radio ads telling customers how to prepare for storms
- Checking equipment and vehicles to make sure they are ready to operate in heavy snow conditions
- Communicating with emergency management officials, state officials, regulators and local officials about storm preparation efforts
- Ramping up storm updates on social media and on the company website. Visit FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com and Follow FirstEnergy and its operating companies on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp, @ToledoEdison, @IlluminatingCo, @OhioEdison, @MonPowerWV, @JCP_L, @Penn_Power, @Penelec, @Met_Ed, @PotomacEdison, @W_Penn_Power.
- Communicating with customers regarding storm preparation tips and safety reminders.
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. Extra caution should be exercised in areas where downed wires may be tangled in downed tree branches or other debris.
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 high winds:
- Keep electronic devices such as cell phones, laptops and tablet computers fully charged to be ready for any emergencies.
- Keep a flashlight, portable radio and extra batteries handy in the event a power interruption occurs. Tune to a local station for current storm information.
- Never use a portable generator inside the house or a closed garage in the event of a power outage. Ensure the proper generator is 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.
- 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.
- 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 customers also can subscribe to email and text message alert notifications to receive weather alerts in advance of major storms, and updates on scheduled or extended power outages. Customers can also use two-way text messaging to report outages, request updates on restoration efforts, and make other inquiries about their electric accounts. More information about these communications tools is available online at www.firstenergycorp.com/connect.
FirstEnergy is 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. The company's transmission subsidiaries operate more than 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Visit FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com and follow on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.