ALLENTOWN, Pa., Aug. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- PPL Electric Utilities reports power outages caused by Hurricane Irene damage in nearly every county of its 29-county service territory and more than 200,000 customers (as of 10 a.m.) affected across its system in central and eastern Pennsylvania.
With crews available and working through the night, PPL Electric Utilities has restored service to more than 73,000 customers – including more than 25,000 customers in Lancaster and Berks counties, more than 17,000 in the Harrisburg/Cumberland Valley, and about 14,000 in the Lehigh Valley. Of the total outages, more than half are in the company's Lancaster and Harrisburg regions, much more than expected as the storm was expected to be more severe in the eastern Pennsylvania areas.
A breakdown of outages by county and municipality is available at www.pplelectric.com/outage. The site provides a service area map, safety tips, restoration priorities, and related information.
Estimated restoration times for specific areas have not yet been established, as PPL Electric Utilities continues to assess the full scope of storm damage. Rain and high winds may continue into the afternoon, which could cause additional outages.
Storm cleanup will take generally take up to four or five days to complete restoration, depending on the area. More specific restoration estimates will be provided as the assessment process is completed and individual jobs are dispatched. Outages will be dispatched today based on the number of customers affected by the case, with priority given to any trouble affecting public health and safety facilities.
"We will work as quickly and safely as possible to restore power to our customers," said Gregory Dudkin, senior vice president, operations, PPL Electric Utilities. "We made arrangements for additional staffing and supplies prior to the hurricane. Now, we're putting our plans into action and responding to customers' needs. Due to the extent of damage that Irene has left, a considerable effort will be needed over a period of days to restore service to everyone."
PPL Electric Utilities urges customers to report any outages by calling 1-800-DIAL-PPL (1-800-342-5775). Do not assume the company is aware of the problem or that neighbors reported the outage. The utility relies on customers' outage reports to help assess the extent of damage and most effectively deploy crews.
Call volume is extremely heavy due to the number of storm interruptions. Customers are asked to call back if they cannot get through. Outages can also be reported online at www.pplelectric.com/outage.
Customers who are without power and live in more rural or remote areas are likely to be without power the longest and may wish to take steps based on their personal situation.
Everyone is also urged to stay safe. Avoid downed power lines and always assume they are energized. Stay away from electrical equipment that is partially submerged in water, such as in a flooded basement.
Use flashlights instead of candles whenever possible, since candles can cause a fire if tipped by animals or people. Also, unplug sensitive home electronics devices that could be damaged when power is restored.
Based on the number of customers reporting interruptions, Hurricane Irene ranks among the worst storms to hit PPL Electric Utilities' service area in the past 20 years.
About 150 employees and contractors of Louisville Gas and Electric arrived Saturday to assist in the restoration effort alongside PPL Electric Utilities and local contractor crews. PPL Corporation acquired LG&E and another Kentucky utility company, Kentucky Utilities, last November.
PPL Electric Utilities, a subsidiary of PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL), provides electric delivery services to about 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania and has consistently ranked among the best companies for customer service in the United States. More information is available at www.pplelectric.com.
SOURCE PPL Electric Utilities