Sep 2, 2011
ALLENTOWN, Pa., Sept. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- PPL Electric Utilities crews on Friday (9/2) expect to complete repairs to all but a handful of remaining trouble spots, capping a nearly weeklong effort to undo the wrath of Hurricane Irene.
The storm was the second worst in the utility's history when measured by both the number of trouble locations — 3,200 — and number of affected customers — about 415,000.
"It's been a grueling, tiring stretch for more than 3,000 PPL Electric Utilities workers, contractors and utility crews from outside utilities who worked to get the lights back on," said PPL Electric Utilities President David G. DeCampli. "Likewise, we know it wasn't easy for customers who experienced extended outages. The patience and understanding of all our customers was phenomenal and appreciated."
PPL's Kentucky utilities — Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities — were among those assisting restoration efforts. Other companies involved in the effort were from Arkansas, Ohio, Tennessee, New York and North Carolina. Local public safety and emergency management officials also offered invaluable assistance.
"It's also important to note there were no serious safety incidents or serious injuries reported as crews logged 16-hour days under some very tough conditions," DeCampli said.
Irene damaged poles, transformers, substations and other equipment in virtually every corner of the PPL Electric Utilities service territory in central and eastern Pennsylvania. The equipment replacement tally included miles of power lines, and more than 1,200 utility poles, 300 transformers and thousands of pieces of pole-top equipment.
Crews should finish work today in the last pockets of damage, those in the northeast part of the state in Monroe, Pike and Wayne counties. A few isolated cases will stretch into the weekend. As of 3 p.m. Friday, about 1,500 customers remain out of service. Outages numbers can fluctuate throughout storm cleanup as repair crews find unreported damage.
DeCampli said planning for Irene occurred well before it hit the state and was critical to getting a good start on repairs. "That preparation, coupled with our dedicated workforce, made all the difference," he said. "Of course, there are lessons to be learned from any major event like this and we always look for ways to improve storm response and communications. Our customers deserve no less."
The hurricane also highlighted the importance to customers of being prepared and staying safe. In any extreme weather conditions, customers should be prepared for a power outage and know what to do if one occurs. For tips, visit www.pplelectric.com/outage.
"Coincidentally, September is National Preparedness Month, a great opportunity to focus on having a good emergency plan and knowing what to do to stay safe," DeCampli said. For more information, visit www.readypa.org.
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.