FirstEnergy crews are prepared and ready to respond to any outages caused by a severe winter storm forecast across most of its utilities' service territories today and Thursday.

The storm is expected to produce a wintry mix of snow and ice in Ohio, western and central Pennsylvania, the Northern Panhandle and higher elevations of West Virginia and western Maryland. High winds are expected in northwest Ohio and portions of New Jersey. The potential for damaging ice also exists in southeastern West Virginia.

Severe winter weather can bring down power lines, and customers should immediately report downed wires to their electric company, local police or fire department. Customers should never go near a downed power line, even if they think it is no longer carrying electricity.

As a result of the weather, FirstEnergy utilities have implemented the company's storm preparation process, including calling in extra line crews and securing commitments from contractor crews to deploy as needed. FirstEnergy crews and support personnel will remain in their respective utility company service areas until the full impact of the storm is known.

Company personnel have participated in conference calls with the mutual assistance groups including the New York Mutual Assistance Group and the Southeastern Electric Exchange to determine the availability of outside utility crews should large-scale outages occur.