Stay Safe in Storm-Damaged Areas
PPL Electric Utilities Urges Customers to Avoid Downed Lines, Use Generators Correctly
PPL Electric Utilities

PPL Electric Utilities customers who remain in areas with damage from Hurricane Irene are urged to stay safe as the company continues its cleanup and power restoration efforts.

Hurricane Irene has been a deadly storm in many ways, and PPL Electric Utilities wants to remind the public to stay clear of any power lines, be watchful of lines that may be tangled in fallen trees and difficult to notice, and use portable generators with proper ventilation and isolated from utility facilities.

Numerous power lines are down from sustained, gusty winds and fallen trees during the weekend across the company’s 29-county service territory, particularly in heavily wooded areas of the Poconos and northeast Pennsylvania.

Remember: Never touch or approach a downed or low-hanging electrical wire. Also, keep children and pets away from wires. Always assume electrical wires are energized. Touching a live power line can cause serious injury or death.

Hurricane Irene caused such widespread, significant damage to trees and electric facilities that roughly 300,000 customers lost power. Within two days, about 250,000 – or more than three-fourths of the total – were restored.  With a massive workforce in the field and in service centers across the state, about half of the remaining affected customers are expected to be restored today. As a result, service will be restored to about 90 percent of all affected customers by end of today, the third full day of restoration efforts.

Customers are asked to report downed lines by calling 1-800-DIAL-PPL (1-800-342-5775). Downed wires can also be reported to local fire or police departments, who will relay the information to PPL Electric Utilities.

“We are responding to downed lines, broken utility poles and other storm damage cases as quickly as possible,” said David Bonenberger, director of system emergency. “However, it will take time to reach them all, because of the sheer volume of storm repair work facing our company.

“We urge customers to take appropriate safety steps until we can repair downed lines, and we thank local public safety and emergency management officials for their assistance,” he said.

Customers still without power should also take care to properly use portable generators. Generators can pose two safety risks:

  • Generators release carbon monoxide, which can be fatal if inhaled. Always operate generators outside your home or garage, in a well-ventilated area. If you start to feel dizzy or weak while running a generator, get to fresh air immediately.
  • Never try to power your house electrical wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet, which is known as “backfeeding.” That electricity can be sent back into the power grid from your house, and can cause an electrocution risk for power line repair crews and emergency responders who do not know that the lines are carrying voltage. Also, your generator and house wiring can be damaged when power is restored.

The hardest-hit areas in terms of remaining outages are Wayne, Pike and Monroe counties in the Poconos of northeastern Pennsylvania. PPL Electric Utilities is rerouting more personnel later today and tomorrow to concentrate greater resources in those areas. Meanwhile, some crews will be approaching remaining work in each county on a municipality (town-by-town) basis.

PPL Electric Utilities has organized nearly 2,000 workers in the field for the restoration effort, supported by hundreds of additional employees in customer service, operations, and corporate functions in service centers across the state.

The utility’s system emergency center, as well as its normal customer contact and system operations centers, are based at a complex near Allentown, Pa. in the Lehigh Valley. Local operations are being coordinated by staff at six regional emergency centers and two dozen area service centers.
 
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: PPL Media Relations, 610-774-5997
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