Oct 29, 2011
With snow accumulating fast and furious during a severe snowstorm Saturday (10/29), PPL Electric Utilities crews were responding to 1,400 cases of trouble to restore power to more than 214,000 customers without power.
“Power outages have risen sharply in the past two hours and more outages can be expected throughout the storm,” said David Bonenberger, director of system emergency for PPL Electric Utilities. “With expectations of more outages from this still developing storm, our crews will be working around the clock, through the weekend and beyond to restore power for customers.”
Crews are currently assessing the damage, although tree damage is likely with evergreen trees already weighed down and other tree limbs getting an increasing amount of snow accumulation.
Because crews are still working to fully assess the extent of the damage, it’s too early to provide estimates on how long it will take to restore power to all affected customers. The outage numbers will continue to rise and the utility expects this to be a multiday restoration effort.
Currently, PPL Electric Utilities is reporting about 1,400 outage cases across the system affecting 214,000 customers throughout its 29-county service area in central and eastern Pennsylvania. The highest number of affected customers are in the Lehigh Valley, Harrisburg and Lancaster regions.
This storm’s northern and northeastern winds are particularly damaging and may lead to more widespread damage as they intensify later on in the day. Significant damage to power lines can be expected.
In advance of the storm, PPL Electric Utilities activated its central and regional storm emergency centers and scheduled all available field personnel for extended shifts.
The company currently has about 200 line and tree crews responding to outages and additional support staff such as dispatchers and customer service representatives.
In addition to PPL Electric Utilities’ own crews and local contractors, the utility is receiving assistance from utility companies in Kentucky. Behind the scenes, support employees are working extended shifts to ensure field personnel have the information, materials and equipment, and other services they need.
“While we expanded our customer service staff for today, we apologize to those customers that have not been able to reach us or faced long wait times to talk to a customer service representative,” Bonenberger said. “We are calling in additional staff to be able to respond more quickly to customers. We thank customers for reporting their outages and appreciate their patience.”
As cases are dispatched, priority will be given to public health and safety issues such as hospitals and nursing homes, and then based on the numbers of customers affected by each case.
Estimated current outages by county and municipality are available at www.pplelectric.com/outage.
Customers without power who have not yet reported their outages are asked to call 1-800-DIAL-PPL (1-800-342-5775) or online at www.pplelectric.com/outage. Please try again if you do not get through the first time. Customers who have already reported outages are asked not to call back for updates so others can get through.
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.