FirstEnergy utilities have restored service to more than 262,000 of the 327,000 customers in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and New Jersey who lost power following widespread, severe storms that hit the region Thursday.
Company linemen, hazard responders, forestry workers, call center representatives, management and support personnel currently are working around the clock to restore service to affected customers. In addition, electrical contractors from Michigan, Indiana, Virginia and New York also are being brought in to assist with the restoration effort.
The hardest-hit areas are in western and central Pennsylvania served by FirstEnergy's West Penn Power and Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec) utilities. Winds in excess of 60 mph blew down trees and branches, damaging electrical equipment in hundreds of locations. As part of the restoration effort, helicopters are being used to inspect electric lines and assess the damage.
As of noon Friday, estimated customer outage restoration times are as follows:
- Penelec: Approximately 35,000 customers remain without power. The majority will be restored Saturday into Sunday.
- West Penn Power: Approximately 23,000 customers remain without power. The majority will be restored by midnight Saturday, with the remainder completed Sunday.
- Mon Power: Approximately 4,800 customers remain without power. The majority will be restored by midnight tonight.
- Penn Power: Approximately 1,300 customers remain without power. The majority will be restored by midnight tonight.
- JCP&L: Approximately 900 customers remain without power. All customers will be restored by this evening.
- Met-Ed: Less than 500 customers remain without power. Restoration should be completed late Friday into early Saturday.
- Ohio Edison: Less than 500 customers without power. Restoration is expected by this evening.
FirstEnergy crews and contractors are utilizing the company's restoration process, which is designed to restore power safely and efficiently:
- First, crews focus on securing hazardous situations such as downed wires to protect public safety.
- Priority also is given to transmission lines, hospitals, communications facilities, emergency response agencies and substation facilities that supply power for local distribution systems.
- Repairs are then made to circuits serving the largest number of customers, followed by restoration of service to individual homes.
Customers may notice hazard responders in areas with downed wires. Their job is to stay on the scene and prevent the public from contacting fallen, energized lines until line crews can make repairs. In addition, temporary repairs may be performed to make an area safe and restore as many customers on a circuit as possible. If crews leave an area to make temporary repairs elsewhere, they will return as soon as possible to complete the remaining work.