PECO battles Hurricane Sandy throughout the night

PHILADELPHIA–(BUSINESS WIRE) — Hurricane Sandy now ranks as the most devastating storm in PECO history – interrupting electric service to more than 600,000 customers. Following more than 12 hours of torrential rains and more than 24 hours of winds gusting to about 70 mph, the storm is still causing outages in the region and will continue to do so until at least midday today.

More than 3,000 PECO employees, contractors and workers from utilities as far away as Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi and PECO’s Chicago-based sister utility ComEd, are continuing to work around-the-clock to repair unprecedented damage and restore service to all customers.

At 6 a.m. Tuesday, PECO had restored power to more than 243,000 customers. More than 585,000 customers remain without service. Specifically:

  • Bucks County = 185,000
  • Chester County = 74,000
  • Delaware County = 86,000
  • Montgomery County = 175,000
  • Philadelphia County = 65,000

In comparison, PECO’s previous record for customer outages was more than 520,000 customers during the January 1994 ice storm. More recently, Hurricane Irene interrupted service to more than 500,000 customers in August 2011.

“Millions of people are without electric service all along the East Coast following Hurricane Sandy. Our PECO crews and supplemental field forces are starting to make progress restoring power while working in very difficult, dangerous conditions,” said John McDonald, vice president, Technical Services at PECO. “We are continuing to see new outages reported throughout the night and expect that to continue throughout today. We will work as quickly and safely as possible to restore service to customers as soon as we can.”

Customers who experience an outage or issue with their natural gas service should call the company immediately at 1-800-841-4141. The more customers who call to report an outage, the more effectively PECO can dispatch crews and restore service.

PECO reminds customers to stay safe during the storm. With saturated ground and high winds, customers may encounter tree damage and downed power lines as the storm intensifies. Customers should always assume that downed lines and equipment are energized and extremely dangerous. Customers also should never enter basements that are flooded until power is de-energized. Stay away from any flood-covered electric equipment in neighborhoods, even if electricity has been terminated in the area.

If an outage occurs:

  • Customers without power should contact the company at 1-800-841-4141. The more customers who call to report an outage, the more effectively PECO can dispatch crews and restore service.
  • Stay away from downed wires, damaged electric equipment and tree limbs or branches contacting electrical equipment. Always assume PECO’s equipment is energized – even if there is an outage in your neighborhood. Report these dangerous conditions to PECO immediately.
  • Turn off and unplug appliances and other devices to prevent possible damage. Remember to keep one light on so you will know when service has been restored.

Customers with generators should never connect them directly to home wiring or plug them into household outlets. Generators connected to home wiring can “backfeed” into PECO’s electric delivery system, risking serious injury or death to PECO crews. Generators should always be placed outside to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.