FirstEnergy Utilities Prepared to Respond to Winter Storm
AKRON, Ohio, Dec. 22, 2022 -- FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) utility personnel are prepared to respond to possible service interruptions caused by a significant winter storm that is expected to bring ice, snow, rain, heavy wind and bitterly cold temperatures to its service territory beginning this afternoon through Saturday.
Company meteorologists have been tracking the winter storm for several days and expect severe winds and extreme cold throughout its entire service territory. In addition, ice accumulations are forecast in eastern West Virginia, northwestern Maryland and southwestern Pennsylvania, and heavy, blowing snow is expected throughout Ohio and parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Heavy rain could occur in eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Severe weather – particularly the wind, with widespread gusts of 40 to 50 miles per hour and reaching higher than 60 miles per hour along the lakeshores and ridgetops – will continue for more than 12 hours, impacting power restoration efforts. Line crews cannot safely go up in bucket trucks to make repairs when wind speeds are excessive. In addition, plummeting temperatures will flash freeze standing water, creating icy road conditions that can make it difficult to access damage to make repairs. Crews will need to take frequent breaks to warm up in their trucks with wind chills dipping as low as minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
FirstEnergy's electric utilities are implementing storm response plans, which include staffing additional operators, damage assessors and analysts at distribution control centers, and arranging to bring in additional line, substation and forestry personnel. The company has also notified contractors who work throughout FirstEnergy's footprint on service reliability projects to be on deck to assist with restoration efforts. The company will coordinate with contractors and electric industry mutual assistance organizations to obtain additional resources, based on the magnitude of the storm.
FirstEnergy representatives have also been in contact with emergency management officials, state officials, regulators and local officials about the company's storm preparation efforts.
How to Report Power Outages and Downed Lines
Customers who experience a service interruption due to the storm are encouraged to report their outage by calling 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877), texting OUT to LIGHTS (544487) or clicking the "Report Outage" link on www.firstenergycorp.com/outages.
FirstEnergy customers can sign up to receive email and text message alert notifications for updates after they've reported a power outage. 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 at www.firstenergycorp.com/connect.
Ice accumulation can bring down power lines and tree branches. Customers should assume all downed or low-hanging power lines are energized and dangerous. Stay at least 30 feet away and use extra caution where downed lines are tangled in trees or other debris, and do not touch anything that is also in contact with a power line. Report downed lines ASAP by calling 911.
For updated information on the company's current outages, the company's storm restoration process and tips for staying safe, visit FirstEnergy's 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages.
Customers Encouraged to Prepare in Advance of the Storm
FirstEnergy encourages customers to plan for the possibility of power outages and cold temperatures due to the impending winter storm by following these tips:
- Keep electronic devices such as cell phones, laptops and tablets fully charged.
- Have a car charger on-hand to charge mobile devices if your power is out. If you have a smart phone, this will ensure you have access to online information sources.
- Keep a flashlight, portable radio and extra batteries handy in the event of a power outage. Tune to a local station for current storm information.
- 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.
- Consider having a hard-wired phone available to report an outage or emergency. A plain, hard-wired phone can operate on power delivered through the phone line.
Operate Backup Generators Safely
Emergency power generators offer an option for customers needing or wanting uninterrupted service. 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, 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. Locate the generator outside of your home and far away from windows, doors and vents. Never locate a generator inside your home.
View additional generator safety information.
FirstEnergy is dedicated to integrity, 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 approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Visit FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com and follow FirstEnergy and its operating companies on Twitter: @FirstEnergyCorp, @ToledoEdison, @IlluminatingCo, @OhioEdison, @MonPowerWV, @JCP_L, @Penn_Power, @Penelec, @Met_Ed, @PotomacEdison, @W_Penn_Power.
CONTACT: News Media Contacts: Todd Meyers – West Penn Power, Penelec, Met-Ed, (724) 838-6650; Lauren Siburkis – Penn Power, Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Company, Toledo Edison, (330) 203-8850; Hannah Catlett – Mon Power, Potomac Edison, (440) 554-5346; Chris Hoenig – Jersey Central Power & Light, (609) 350-8599