FirstEnergy Utilities Prepare for Severe Winter Weather This Weekend
Akron, Ohio – FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) utility personnel are prepared to respond to outages caused by heavy snow, freezing rain and ice, and high winds forecast for the eastern U.S. this weekend.
Company meteorologists are monitoring Winter Storm Harper, a complex storm system that will affect FirstEnergy’s service areas in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey. While some snow is forecast for later today, Harper’s severe weather is expected to hit the region on Saturday and Sunday. Some FirstEnergy areas could see more than 24 inches of snow, while others could experience freezing rain and significant ice accumulations along with high winds. In addition, heavy rains could cause flooding in parts of West Virginia and Maryland.
All of FirstEnergy’s electric utilities are implementing 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. In addition, the company has been in contact with electrical contractors and electric industry mutual assistance organizations about the possibility of securing additional resources to assist with storm restoration efforts.
“We are monitoring the weather conditions closely and will deploy resources to the areas that could get hit the hardest,” said Sam Belcher, senior vice president of FirstEnergy and president of FirstEnergy Utilities. “The goal of our planning efforts is to safely speed the outage restoration process and minimize any inconvenience our customers experience due to the weather.”
FirstEnergy utilities include: Jersey Central Power & Light in New Jersey; Metropolitan Edison Company (Met-Ed), Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec), Pennsylvania Power (Penn Power), and West Penn Power in Pennsylvania; Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Company and Toledo Edison in Ohio; Mon Power in West Virginia; and Potomac Edison in Maryland and West Virginia.
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 severe winter weather:
• 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.