AKRON, Ohio, Nov. 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Service has been restored to more than 152,000 customers who lost power across FirstEnergy Corp.’s (NYSE: FE) service territory following the winter ice and snow storm that hit the region yesterday.  Since the storm began, repairs have been made at hundreds of locations, and crews are working around the clock to restore service to approximately 85,000 customers who remain without power in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey. 

FirstEnergy Corp. Logo (PRNewsfoto/FirstEnergy Corp.)

Among the areas hardest hit were eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, where more than 145,000 customers of Ohio Edison, Penn Power and West Penn Power lost power due to the storm.  Approximately 470 additional line workers, damage assessors and hazard responders are being deployed to assist FirstEnergy utilities with restoration efforts in these areas. 

As damage assessment progresses, expected restoration times will be updated on FirstEnergy’s 24/7 Power Center outage maps. Full restoration may stretch into late Sunday evening for some of the hardest hit areas, including Columbiana, Mahoning, Stark and Trumbull counties in Ohio and Butler, Armstrong and Allegheny counties in Pennsylvania.

“Accumulating ice, wet snow and brisk winds caused heavy, ice-coated branches and trees to fall into power lines and other equipment,” said Samuel L. Belcher, senior vice president and president of FirstEnergy Utilities.  “We will continue to work round-the-clock to safely make repairs and deploy resources as needed until all customers are restored.”

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

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 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 exercised in areas where downed wires may be tangled in downed tree branches or other debris.

Customers also are reminded of the following safety tips for preparing for and dealing with outages caused by winter weather:

  • 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.
  • Never use a portable generator inside the house or a closed garage in the event of a power outage. Ensure the proper generator is 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.
  • 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.

FirstEnergy customers also can subscribe to email and text message alert notifications to receive billing reminders, weather alerts in advance of major storms, and 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 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 more than 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.

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SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.