March 13, 2017

Utilities prepping for huge storm

POCONOS - PPL Electric Utilities is preparing for potential power outages resulting from a predicted winter storm and is urging its customers to do the same.

All PPL employees — including hundreds of line workers, electricians and other skilled technicians — are ready to respond when needed.

PPL has secured 250 additional line workers from its sister companies in Kentucky, and from South Carolina, to help restore power to customers.

"We will work around the clock until all customers are restored to power," said Dave Bonenberger, PPL Vice President-Distribution Operations. "We have been working for years to strengthen our system to reduce the number of outages in storms, and to help us restore power more quickly."

PPL says it has made many improvements to its system that are intended to minimize outages and shorten their duration when they do occur. 

FirstEnergy Corp. personnel are prepared to respond when the heavy snow and potentially high winds associated with a forecasted large winter storm impact the eastern part of the country beginning Monday evening through Wednesday. 

Company meteorologists are tracking the storm system that could affect areas served by all 10 FirstEnergy utilities, including Metropolitan Edison. Initial estimates show there could be up to two feet of snow in some of the higher elevations, along with winds gusting in the 40-55 mph range. 

As part of the storm preparation process, equipment and vehicles are being checked to make sure they are ready to operate in heavy snow conditions.

"A unique challenge with a winter storm is being able to gain access to the outage locations, especially when large snow accumulations hamper travel," said Mark Julian, vice president, Utility Operations, FirstEnergy.  "As part of our assessment process, once we know the extent of the storm damage, we can deploy additional crews and resources from our less affected utilities to areas that were hit the hardest."

During severe 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  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

Customers are encouraged to prepare for the possibility of outages caused by significant snowfall and 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.

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