FirstEnergy Utilities Preparing for Powerful Winter Storm to Impact Service Area Beginning MondayCompany personnel ready to respond to outages caused by heavy snowfall and ice accumulation
AKRON, Ohio, Feb. 15, 2021 -- FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) utility personnel are prepared to respond to service interruptions caused by Winter Storm Uri, a powerful winter storm that is expected to bring heavy snow and damaging ice across the company's six-state service area Monday and Tuesday.
Company meteorologists are tracking the winter storm, which has already impacted significant portions of the country and moved into the region Monday afternoon. The storm is expected to bring up to 12" of snowfall in Ohio and Pennsylvania with a mix of rain, sleet and ice accumulation in areas of FirstEnergy's Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey service territories. Meteorologists are also monitoring a similar weather event that may bring additional mixed precipitation to FirstEnergy's service area later this week.
All of FirstEnergy's electric utilities are implementing storm response plans, which include staffing additional dispatchers, damage assessors and analysts at regional dispatch offices, and arranging to bring in additional line, substation and forestry personnel, as needed, based on the severity of the weather. The company has also notified contractors who work throughout FirstEnergy's footprint building power lines and installing new equipment to enhance service reliability for customers to be on deck to assist with restoration efforts.
Due to the widespread impact of Winter Storm Uri, mutual assistance groups are deploying crews to restore service to customers across the country. FirstEnergy has secured approximately 100 additional line workers to assist with storm restoration efforts in New Jersey, and the company will continue coordinating with contractors and electric industry mutual assistance organizations based on their availability due to the magnitude of the storm.
"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 restore electric service as quickly as safety allows and to minimize inconvenience our customers experience due to the storm."
Company representatives also have been in contact with emergency management officials, state officials, regulators and local officials about the storm preparation efforts.
During severe weather, customers who are without power are encouraged to call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report their outage or click the "Report Outage" link on www.firstenergycorp.com. Customers are also encouraged to stay far away from a downed or low-hanging power line. Always assume downed lines are energized and dangerous and report them ASAP by calling 911.
For updated information on the company's current outages, FirstEnergy's storm restoration process and tips for staying safe, visit the 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages.
FirstEnergy encourages customers to plan ahead for the possibility of electric service interruptions from winter weather by following these tips:
- Keep electronic devices such as cell phones, laptops and tablet computers fully charged to be ready for any emergencies.
- Keep a flashlight, portable radio and extra batteries handy in the event a power interruption occurs. 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.
- Mobile phones can be charged in your vehicle using a car charger when the power is out. If you have a smart phone, this will ensure you have access to online information sources.
- 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, 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.
FirstEnergy customers also can subscribe to email and text message alert notifications for updates on scheduled or extended power outages. 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 online at www.firstenergycorp.com/connect.
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 24,500 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.
News Media Contacts: Mark Durbin – JCP&L, (330) 761-4365, or Todd Meyers – West Penn Power, Penelec, Met-Ed, (724) 838-6650, or Chris Eck – Toledo Edison, (330) 761-4365, or Will Boye – Mon Power, Potomac Edison, (301) 790-6420, or Lauren Siburkis – Penn Power, Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Company, (330) 203-8850