Nov 2, 2012
PPL Electric Utilities continues to make power restoration progress in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, with 75 percent of affected customers now back in service.
Utility officials said the goal remains to restore power to 80 to 85 percent of all affected customers across its system by 11 p.m. today and to have the lights back on for all — including the Lehigh Valley, parts of Bucks and Montgomery counties, the Poconos and northeast Pennsylvania — by 11 p.m. Sunday (11/4).
The time targets mean the utility is working to have the last of the affected customers in those areas restored by that time. Most will have power back well before that point. Crews are discovering extreme damage in some locations and it is possible that small pockets of outages in places where crews are confronted with extensive work to remove trees and rebuild power lines could remain into Monday or Tuesday. If there are customers who are not expected to get power restored by 11 p.m. Sunday, they will be notified.
About 113,000 customers remained out of service across the utility’s 10,000-square-mile service territory as of 12 p.m. today. Nearly 330,000 have had electric service restored since the storm began Monday. The utility is projecting another 50,000 customers will have power restored by the end of today.
“Crews are moving into the harder hit areas in the eastern part of our service territory when work in other areas is complete,” said Dave Bonenberger, vice president of Distribution Operations for PPL Electric Utilities. “We ask those who remain without power for their continued understanding. This is an immense repair effort, with much more hard work ahead.”
Crews are finished with work in the utility’s Harrisburg and Lancaster regions. Work is expected to finish tonight for affected customers in the north central part of the PPL Electric Utilities service territory, which contains places such as Bloomsburg, Hazleton and Williamsport.
More work crews have been relocated into eastern Pennsylvania today to supplement the hundreds of workers already rebuilding lines and restoring power to customers in those communities. These moves added another 150 line workers to the 2,300-person workforce already working in eastern Pennsylvania.
Utility workers from at least 10 different states, including PPL Electric Utilities’ sister utilities in Kentucky, are supporting storm damage restoration. Overall, about 5,200 people are supporting the restoration efforts, including about 3,000 in the field. The size of the field workforce is the largest ever for PPL Electric Utilities for a storm, more than triple the company’s normal physical workforce.
“As we enter the final days of restoration, the number of customers restored by each repair job is much fewer as the remaining outages involve damage affecting very small pockets of customers, sometimes even a single customer,” Bonenberger said. “That’s where bringing in crews who are finished in other parts of our service area is so valuable.”
Any customer who wants a restoration update can call 1-800-DIAL-PPL (1-800-342-5775) 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. The utility’s outage web site is adapted for mobile phones.
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.
PPL Electric Utilities restores power through a systematic approach that orders repairs that restore the most customers at a time. Where possible, switches are used to reroute power to some customers until actual repairs can be made. Repairs then go to smaller neighborhoods and individual homes and businesses.
Customers are reminded to stay safe, including avoiding downed lines and using portable generators with proper ventilation. 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.