Public Service Electric and Gas utility crews left for Pennsylvania yesterday to help PECO Energy restore power to thousands of customers still affected by this week's destructive ice storm. The utility dispatched 106 electric linemen and support personnel from different locations throughout its service territory this afternoon.

The PSE&G contingent is en route to Warminster, Pennsylvania, where they will receive their assignments from PECO. They are expected to work in Bucks, Montgomery and Chester counties for three to five days. The same weather system that disrupted service for more than half a million Pennsylvania residents brought down trees and power lines in New Jersey early Wednesday morning. The worst ice storm in more than a decade impacted about 110,000 PSE&G customers, primarily in Mercer and Burlington counties. About 90 percent were restored within 24 hours, with the final customer restored on Friday morning.

"Ice storms are game-changers for utilities," said John Latka, PSE&G's vice president of electric operations. "PECO is faced with a daunting task given the extensive damage from this storm. Our employees know how important it is to get the lights back on, and even though conditions are difficult, answered the call for help."

The PSE&G employees are expected to work 16-hour days to repair damaged electric lines and safely restore power to thousands of customers still in the dark from the recent storm.

PECO reached out for assistance, called mutual aid, that allows for the sharing of resources such as labor and equipment during emergencies. The hosting utility reimburses for associated costs.