Never go near a downed power line, even if you think it's no longer carrying electricity.
Winter Storm Harper
FirstEnergy 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. the weekend of January 19-20.
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. Weather models indicate that 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."
The tips below can help you plan for the possibility of electric service interruptions and help ensure your safety.
When major storms are forecast for our service areas, we will provide updates on our storm preparation efforts, current outages and our restoration process on this page, as well as in our releases to the news media and on social media.
Current outage information, including the best-availble restoration estimates, can be found on our outage maps.
Preparation and safety
What to do if you lose power
Severe weather can cause power outages. Follow these tips to be prepared for outages before they happen:
- Light. Keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy. Use care when burning candles; open flames are a dangerous fire hazard.
- Warmth. Have extra blankets or a sleeping bag for each person. Do not use gas stoves, grills or other open-flame appliances as a heat source. They could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas could build up in your home.
- Water. If you have a water well and pump, keep an emergency supply of bottled water.
- Food. If your home has an electric range, stock an emergency supply of convenience foods that do not require cooking.
- News and information. Keep a battery-powered radio with extra batteries on hand. You can:
- view current outages on our 24/7 Power Center outage maps on a smartphone,
- follow us on social media for updates during significant storms,
- or get updates on outages you reported via text message or email - learn more about this service here.
- Means of communication. While a cell phone will work as long as its battery is charged and the nearest cell tower has power or backup power, many cordless land-line telephones require a plug-in power source to operate, and may not work if a power outage occurs. You may want to keep a plain, hard-wired telephone handy to report your power outage (888-544-4877) or to call for help in an emergency. These phones operate on power delivered through the phone line.
When severe weather is forecast, we ensure our call centers are fully staffed. If you lose power, call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report your outage or report it online or via text messaging. Outage information is also available on our 24/7 Power Center Maps.
Immediately report downed wires to 1-888-LIGHTSS (888-544-4877) or your local police or fire department. Never go near a downed power line, even if you think it's no longer carrying electricity.
Our meteorologists carefully monitor developing weather systems, and we mobilize linemen, contractors, forestry workers and other support staff before severe weather strikes. These individuals are then dispatched appropriately to the hardest-hit areas. View the video below for more information about how we prepare for storms.
Our restoration process is designed to restore power safely and efficiently for affected customers. The priority for restoration starts with emergency services, including hospitals, police, fire and first aid. Priority is also given to circuits serving the largest number of customers, followed by restoration of service to individual homes.
Additional information about our restoration process and priorities is available on our website.
How we prepare for storms
Storm Restoration Process
If You Lose Power:
- Call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report outages immediately, or report online or via text messaging. Our call centers will be fully staffed. The more people who call, the faster we can pinpoint the location where crews must be sent for repairs.
- Immediately report downed wires to 888-544-4877 or your local police or fire department. Never go near a downed power line, even if you think it's no longer carrying electricity.
- Stay more than 30 feet away from downed power lines, don't walk or drive near or over a downed line, and watch out for anything touching the line. If a wire falls on a vehicle, passengers should stay inside until help arrives.
- Keep children and pets away from any wires.
- Unplug appliances like refrigerators and freezers, and sensitive electronic equipment like TVs and computers, so that they won't overload when power is restored.
- When operating a generator, always disconnect the power coming into your home. Otherwise, power from your generator could be sent back onto the utility lines, creating a hazardous situation for utility workers. The proper generator should be selected and installed by a qualified electrician.
- Stay out of flooded basements, even if the power is off. Stay away from the breaker box if it's in a flooded basement.
Additional Generator Safety Information
Emergency power generators offer an option for customers needing or wanting uninterrupted service. However, to ensure the safety of the home's occupants as well as that of utility company employees who may be working on power lines in the area, the proper generator should be selected and installed by a qualified electrician. When operating a generator, always disconnect the power coming into your home. Otherwise, power from your generator could be sent back onto the utility lines, creating a hazardous situation for utility workers.