Aug 29, 2011
PPL Electric Utilities now has restored power to more than 200,000 customers over the past two days following the widespread damage left by Hurricane Irene over the weekend. Irene now ranks as the utility’s second worst storm in the past 20 years.
PPL Electric Utilities said it has an expanding army of more than 2,300 employees and contractors engaged in this massive restoration effort, and thousands of customers are getting power back every hour.
As of 8 p.m., about 210,000 customers were restored with 75,000 customers remaining without power across the utility’s service area in central and eastern Pennsylvania. As crews continue working this evening, service is expected to be restored to 10,000-15,000 customers more in the next few hours.
Still, the company faces a massive workload – cleanup and electrical repairs – ahead for the rest of the week with about 3,500 trouble cases to address. Each individual job now represents only a handful to a few hundred customers so the rate of progress declines as jobs restore fewer customers.
On Tuesday, the company will continue dispatching multiple crews to clusters of jobs in a geographic area to bring back entire portions of communities still without service. This approach will allow customer service to provide better estimated restoration times for local areas for the first time.
Of the remaining outages, there are roughly 35,000 customers affected in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Poconos, less than 20,000 customers in the Lehigh Valley and nearby areas, about 10,000 customers in the Harrisburg, Lancaster and York region, and fewer than 10,000 customers in the northern Susquehanna Valley and northcentral Pennsylvania.
For estimated outage numbers by county and municipality, along with locations for water and ice distribution for customers, storm damage and restoration photos, and storm safety reminders, visit www.pplelectric.com/outage. PPL Electric Utilities wants to caution any customer using portable generators and ensure generators operate with proper ventilation and disconnected from the utility’s distribution system for safety.
David Schleicher, director of system emergency, said the utility’s round-the-clock effort will continue through the week until every customer is restored.
“Every customer is a priority for us, and we won’t stop until power is restored to every last one,” he said. “We understand how frustrating it is to be without power and our employees are doing everything they can to restore power to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. We thank our customers for their patience.”
In addition to PPL Electric Utilities’ own crews and local contractors, the utility is receiving assistance from utility companies in Indiana, Kentucky, Arkansas, Ohio, New York, North Carolina and elsewhere. Behind the scenes, support employees are working extended shifts to ensure field personnel have the information, materials and equipment, and other services they need.
Based on the number of customer outages, Hurricane Irene ranks as the second-worst storm to hit PPL Electric Utilities’ service area over the past 20 years, trailing only Hurricane Isabel of 2003, which affected 495,000 customers.
Customers experiencing prolonged outages can visit PPL Electric Utilities’ online outage center at www.pplelectric.com/outage for information on ice and water distributors.
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.