AKRON, Ohio, Oct. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — As Hurricane Sandy unleashes its force along the east coast, approximately 7,500 FirstEnergy (FE) personnel, electrical contractors and outside utility resources are assisting FirstEnergy utilities in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Ohio with service restoration to customers who have lost power as a result of the powerful storm.
Linemen, dispatchers, hazard responders, damage assessors, mechanics, supervisors and call center representatives are actively responding to reports of outages across FirstEnergy’s service territory, particularly in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania.
Despite the additional resources, preliminary estimates indicate the possibility for lengthy outages in the storm’s wake. Strong winds from Hurricane Sandy, coupled with high winds from a cold front moving in from the west, are expected to inflict catastrophic damage. While assessment of the damage by utility workers will be ongoing, the slow-moving nature of the storm will slow the process and hamper the conduct of restoration work. Restoration times will be updated as the severity of the storm’s impact on the electrical system is determined.
FirstEnergy customer call centers are fully staffed as Hurricane Sandy moves through. Customers 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. Customers should immediately report downed wires to their electric company or local police or fire department.
“Restoring power to all of our customers in an efficient fashion is our top priority during this dangerous storm, and we urge customers to remain safe as we work through the restoration process,” said Steven E. Strah, vice president, Distribution Support, FirstEnergy. “High winds and heavy rains will make debris and flooding real hazards, not only throughout the storm’s duration, but also in its aftermath. If lines are down, please stay well away until crews can arrive to make the area safe.”
The priority for restoration starts with emergency services, including hospitals, police, fire and first aid. Repairs are scheduled based on restoring the most people the fastest. During severe damage, it could take repairs in many locations to restore power to one location.
Customers are encouraged to be safe and prepare for the extended outages:
- Never touch a line that is on the ground or hanging from an electrical pole. Even though a line may look harmless, it may be carrying electricity.
- Keep children and pets away from downed wires, and never attempt to remove trees or limbs from power lines because they could conduct electricity.
- If a downed line is near water, keep far away. Stay out of flooded basements, even if the power is off.
- Do not drive over downed wires, and stay away from downed lines that are in contact with vehicles.
- Unplug appliances such as refrigerators and freezers, and sensitive electronic equipment such as TVs and computers, so that they won’t overload when power is restored.
- When operating a generator, always disconnect the power coming into your home or power from your generator could be sent back onto the utility lines, creating a hazardous situation for utility workers and the public. In addition, the proper generator should be selected and installed by a qualified electrician, and generators should only be used outdoors and only in well-ventilated areas.
- Never use your stove, gas grill or a heater designed for outdoor use to heat your home, as deadly carbon monoxide gas can accumulate.
For updated information on the company’s storm preparation efforts, current outages, FirstEnergy’s storm restoration process and tips for staying safe, visit the 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages. JCP&L customers can find the latest information on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JCPandL. FirstEnergy operating companies will also provide updates via Twitter: