Nov 1, 2012
More than half of the hundreds of thousands of PPL Electric Utilities customers left without power in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy are now back in service.
As of 9 a.m. today (11/1), service has been restored to nearly 220,000 customers, and virtually all of the more than 66,000 affected customers in the utility’s Harrisburg and Lancaster regions have had power restored. About 197,000 customers remain out of service.
Crews finishing work in those areas are being redirected to bolster ongoing efforts in other areas, including the Lehigh Valley and northeast Pennsylvania where about 90 percent of the remaining outages are located. The company expects to restore about 70,000 additional customers today, most of them in the Lehigh Valley, Bucks and Montgomery counties, and the Poconos area.
“We continue to make progress, and the more than 5,000 people supporting the restoration effort — including more than 3,000 workers in the field — have started to turn the tide,” said Dave Bonenberger, vice president of Distribution Operations for PPL Electric Utilities.
“But we still have a lot of hard work ahead. Right now, we have more workers out there making repairs than in any previous storm. It is time-consuming, labor-intensive work. We’re working around the clock and as hard as we can to get the lights back for everyone as soon as humanly possible. We still expect to have 80 to 85 percent of affected customers back in service by Friday night.”
Utility workers from at least 10 different states, including PPL Electric Utilities’ sister utilities in Kentucky, are supporting storm damage restoration.
The utility continues to project that customers in north central Pennsylvania, an area including communities such as Hazleton, Pottsville, Sunbury, Bloomsburg, Lock Haven and Williamsport, should have the last of their outages restored by 11 p.m. Friday.
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 customers restored by 11 p.m. Sunday.
The utility is also working to address technical issues with some automated restoration time notices to customers that in some cases may be providing conflicting or incorrect information. The company is committed to providing customers and public officials with as much information as it can about the progress of the recovery effort.
In some cases, customers received incorrect messages saying their restoration time is 11 p.m. Nov. 5. Many of those customers are expected to be restored to power today or tomorrow. Any customer who wants an update can call 1-800-DIAL-PPL or check pplelectric.com. If an updated restoration time is available for that customer, it will be on the automated phone system or on the web.
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. It restores power through a systematic approach that first focuses on public health and safety facilities and repairs that restore large numbers of customers to service.
Where it can, the utility uses switches to reroute power to as many customers as possible until repairs can be made. Higher priority goes to repairs that will get the largest numbers of customers back in service as quickly as possible. Repairs then go to smaller neighborhoods and individual homes and businesses.
“We know being without power is not easy. Many of PPL Electric Utilities’ employees working on the restoration effort also are without electric service at home,” Bonenberger said. “We remind all customers to stay safe. That includes staying away from downed wires and safely operating portable generators.” Safety information for customers is available at the company’s website, www.pplelectric.com.
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.