PPL Electric Utilities Restores Service to 53,000 Customers, Restoration Effort to Run into the Weekend
Severe thunderstorms damage both transmission and distribution facilities

ALLENTOWN, Pa., May 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- PPL Electric Utilities said it will be a multiple day effort to restore power to all customers affected by severe thunderstorms that rolled through the Susquehanna Valley and northeastern Pennsylvania Thursday night. The storm interrupted some of the utility's transmission and distribution facilities and knocked out about 120,000 customers at the peak.  

As of 9 a.m. today, PPL Electric Utilities reports almost 65,000 customers without service across its territory with the most affected in Dauphin, Cumberland and York counties in the Susquehanna Valley and Pike, Monroe, Wayne and Carbon counties in the Poconos. Storm outage updates are posted on the Outage Center at www.pplelectric.com.

The utility continues working on a full assessment of the storm's damage effects on power lines and related equipment. There are outages in 26 counties with more than 1,300 individual cases of trouble requiring multiple crews to repair.

While relatively brief in nature, the storm rolled from central Pennsylvania eastward into the Poconos. Some areas even experienced golf ball-sized hail and heavy rains. High winds brought down many trees, tree limbs and power lines, causing many of the outages. Last night, the storm damaged seven regional transmission lines that interrupted supply to local substations feeding nearly 50,000 customers. Working through the night, PPL Electric Utilities personnel re-routed power to other facilities in the area until permanent repairs can be made. In one instance, crews are working today to repair a high-voltage transmission line with four broken poles near Wyomissing, Berks County.  

"We'll be working around the clock to restore power as safely and as quickly as possible to customers," said Jerry Diehl, PPL Electric Utilities' emergency director. "We're mobilizing as many available crews as possible and moving crews, where possible, from less hard hit areas to the areas with the most damage from the storm."

Restoration efforts are expected to continue through Saturday (5/28), though most affected customers will have power restored by midnight tonight. PPL Electric Utilities will be conducting outreach efforts to customers who are expected to be out of service for more than 24 hours.

Customers should report power outages by calling 1-800-342-5775 (1-800-DIAL-PPL). People are also reminded to stay clear of any downed power lines and to assume any downed line is energized.

In any major storm, PPL Electric Utilities has established priorities for restoring power, focusing initially on critical public health and safety issues such as hospitals and other health care facilities.

Restoration efforts also focus on power lines and substations that feed large numbers of customers. Then, priority is given to repairs that will restore service to the largest numbers of customers.

Among safety reminders, people should:

  • Never run a generator in their home, basement, or other indoor space where exhaust fumes may accumulate.
  • Stay clear of electrical equipment where there is standing water, such as a flooded basement.
  • Unplug sensitive home electronics that can suffer damage when power is restored.
  • Avoid candles and use flashlights instead. Candles can cause a fire if tipped by animals or people, or if they come in contact with a combustible item.

PPL Electric Utilities, a subsidiary of PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL), provides electric delivery services to about 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania and has consistently ranked among the best companies for customer service in the United States. More information is available at www.pplelectric.com.

For further information: Lissette Santana, PPL Electric Utilities, +1-610-774-5997
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