Oct 31, 2012
The more than 4,000 people working on restoring service to PPL Electric Utilities customers in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy are making significant progress.
As of 1 p.m. today (10/31), service has been restored to 175,000 customers through a systematic approach that focuses on public health and safety facilities and initially making repairs that restore large numbers of customers to service.
“We made progress on the first full day of restorations Tuesday and we can assure all of our customers that there will be no letup in our determination to get everyone restored as safely and as quickly as possible,” said Dave Bonenberger, vice president of Distribution Operations for PPL Electric Utilities. “We are working around the clock to assess and repair damage to equipment across our 10,000-square-mile service territory.”
Bonenberger said the company’s work plans for today would, if all goes well, restore service to 70,000 customers.
“We expect that between 80 and 85 percent of customers who lost power because of this storm will have service restored by 11 p.m. Friday,” Bonenberger said.
Utility officials said the last of the affected customers in the Harrisburg and Lancaster regions should have power restored by 11 p.m. Thursday.
Those in the Susquehanna region, an area including communities such as Sunbury, Bloomsburg, Lock Haven and Williamsport, should have the last of their outages restored by 11 p.m. Friday, along with the utility’s Central region, which includes communities such as Hazleton, Frackville and Marion Heights.
The eastern part of the company’s service territory, which includes parts of Bucks and Montgomery counties, the Lehigh Valley and north into northeast Pennsylvania, should have the last of its customers restored by 11 p.m. Sunday.
An extra 150 utility workers are expected to arrive today from the Deep South, putting the total at more than 2,700 including PPL Electric Utilities’ physical work force of about 500. Help has arrived from at least a half dozen states including Kentucky, Florida, Wisconsin, Georgia and Missouri.
Overall, about 5,000 people, including administrative, logistical and customer service support, are involved in getting the lights back on.
As of 1 p.m. today (10/31), about 266,000 customers were out of service, with most of that total in the Lehigh Valley and in northeast Pennsylvania.
Information on what the utility is doing to restore power, including a list of locations where customers can obtain free ice and water, can be found at www.pplelectric.com.
Customers who have not yet reported outages are asked to call 1-800-DIAL-PPL (1-800-342-5775) or report online at www.pplelectric.com. The outage web site is adapted for mobile phones.
PPL Electric Utilities’ power restoration strategy has been developed and improved with experience from previous major storms, and mirrors procedures used at other large utilities that also have dealt with substantial outages.
The restoration strategy is as follows:
“We continue to remind customers to stay safe and stay away from any downed wires or downed poles,” Bonenberger said. “That includes the safe operation of portable generators. If you have a generator, please make sure it is installed correctly and that you don’t operate it in any place where deadly carbon monoxide fumes could accumulate.”
PPL Electric Utilities, a subsidiary of PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL), provides electric delivery services to about 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania and consistently ranks among the best companies for customer service in the United States. More information is available at www.pplelectric.com.