Potomac Edison Planning for Possible Impact of Hurricane JoaquinStorm Plans Activated and Additional Crews Could Be Mobilized
WILLIAMSPORT, Md., Oct. 1, 2015 -- Potomac Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), is closely monitoring Hurricane Joaquin and is making preparations should possible high winds and heavy rains hit parts of its service territory and cause power outages.
Based on weather forecasts from company meteorologists, Potomac Edison has notified line, substation, and forestry personnel, as well as dispatchers and analysts at its regional dispatch offices, that they will be on the job should severe weather occur. In addition, contractors have been notified they could be required to assist with storm restoration efforts over the next several days.
"As we prepare for this storm, we are implementing many of the lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy to help accelerate the restoration efforts," said James A. Sears, Jr., FirstEnergy's president of Maryland Operations and vice president of Potomac Edison. "Additionally, Joaquin may provide our first opportunity to use our new storm damage assessment app that automatically uploads information from the field to our electronic outage management system. This powerful technology will streamline our work to get the most customers restored to service in the shortest amount of time."
Other steps Potomac Edison is taking to prepare for Hurricane Joaquin include:
- Communicating with emergency management officials, state officials, regulators and local officials about our storm preparation efforts
- Beginning preliminary planning for staging areas for outside crews and equipment
- Working with mutual assistance groups to arrange for outside utility crews to assist in Maryland and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia
FirstEnergy customer call centers will be fully staffed. 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 at www.firstenergycorp.com.
FirstEnergy customers also can subscribe to email and text message alert notifications to receive important storm information. 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 communication tools is available online at www.firstenergycorp.com/connect.
In the event of severe weather, customers should immediately report downed wires to their utility or their local police or fire department. Customers should never go near a downed power line, even if they think it is no longer carrying electricity. Extra caution should be used in areas where downed lines are tangled in trees or other debris. Motorists are cautioned to treat intersections with inoperable traffic signals as four-way stops.
For severe weather, the company encourages customers to plan ahead for the possibility of electric service interruptions by following these tips:
Safety Tips During Outages
- Keep flashlights and fresh batteries in your home. Avoid using candles to light your home, especially around children and pets.
- 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.
- Have a hard-wired telephone or a charged cell phone handy in the event you need to report your electricity is out. Mobile phones can be charged in your vehicle using a car charger when the power is out.
- Gather extra blankets or a sleeping bag for each person.
- Do not use gas stoves, kerosene heaters or other open-flame heat sources indoors. These can cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to build up in your home.
- Keep a battery-powered radio with extra batteries on hand. Tune to a local station for current storm 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, 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.
Potomac Edison serves about 257,000 customers in seven Maryland counties and 137,000 customers in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. Visit Potomac Edison on the web at www.potomacedison.com and follow Potomac Edison on Twitter @PotomacEdison.
CONTACT: Todd Meyers, (724) 838-6650