FirstEnergy Crews Restoring Power to Customers Following High Winds and Severe Thunderstorms
AKRON, Ohio, Aug. 25, 2023 -- Service has been restored to approximately 221,500 of the more than 460,300 FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) customers who lost power due to powerful thunderstorms that impacted its service territory over the past two nights.
Storms with frequent lightning, heavy rains and strong winds exceeding 70 mph in Ohio and 60 mph in western Pennsylvania swept into the area in the early morning hours today. The storms followed significant rain Wednesday night that totaled more than 4 inches in some areas, causing flooding, saturating the ground and increasing the probability for trees to fall from heavy winds. Hardest hit areas include Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties in The Illuminating Company's service territory; Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage, Summit and Trumbull counties in Ohio Edison's service territory; and Allegheny, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties in West Penn Power's service territory.
The tree- and flood-related damage is widespread, consisting of hundreds of broken poles and crossarms, downed power lines, and fallen trees and debris blocking road access. Our primary focus at this stage is to remove any hazards and assess the damage so that our crews can access the site of an outage and begin to safely make the repairs. Due to the extent of damage, restoration work is expected to continue into the weekend in the hardest hit areas.
All internal line crews, hazard responders, forestry crews, contractors, safety and other support personnel are involved in storm response, and significant additional outside resources are enroute and being deployed to assist with the restoration effort. Though downed trees, localized flooding and road closures can slow progress, crews will continue to work around the clock to safely make repairs and ensure service to all customers has been restored.
Current outage updates as of 10 a.m. today for the company's most impacted utilities include:
- The Illuminating Company: Approximately 155,000 customers in northeast Ohio lost power due to the storms, and 110,600 customers remain without service. Estimated restoration times will be established later today as damage assessment progresses.
- Ohio Edison: Approximately 191,200 customers in northern, eastern and central Ohio lost power due to the storm, and 85,500 remain without service. Estimated restoration times will be established later today as damage assessment progresses.
- Penn Power: Approximately 6,000 customers in western Pennsylvania lost power due to the storm, and 4,400 remain without service. Customers in the hardest hit area of Mercer County are expected to have power restored by 11 p.m. tomorrow. The majority of Penn Power customers in other areas are expected to have power restored by 11 p.m. this evening.
- Penelec: Approximately 21,200 customers in northern and central Pennsylvania lost power due to the storm, and 2,100 remain without service. The majority of customers are expected to have power restored by 11 p.m. this evening.
- West Penn Power: Approximately 48,000 customers in western Pennsylvania lost power due to the storm, and 29,200 remain without service. Estimated restoration times will be established later today as damage assessment progresses.
How to Report Power Outages and Downed Lines
Customers who have experienced a service interruption due to the storm are encouraged to report their outage if they have not already done so by calling 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877), texting OUT to LIGHTS (544487) or clicking the "Report Outage" link on www.firstenergycorp.com.
FirstEnergy customers can sign up to receive email and text message alert notifications for updates after they've reported a power outage. Customers can also use two-way text messaging to report outages, request updates on restoration efforts and make other inquiries about their electric accounts. More information about these communication tools is available at www.firstenergycorp.com/connect.
The high winds have brought down trees and branches onto power lines. Customers should assume all downed or low-hanging power lines are energized and dangerous. Stay at least 30 feet away and use extra caution where downed lines are tangled in trees or other debris. Report downed lines ASAP by calling 911.
For updated information on the company's current outages, the company's storm restoration process and tips for staying safe, visit FirstEnergy's 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages.
Operate Backup Generators Safely
Emergency power generators offer an option for customers needing or wanting uninterrupted service. To ensure the safety of the home's occupants as well as that of electric company employees who may be working on power lines in the area, the proper generator should be selected and installed by a qualified electrician.
When operating a generator, the power coming into the home should always be disconnected. Otherwise, power from the generator could be sent back onto the power lines, creating a hazardous situation for company workers. Locate the generator outside of your home and far away from windows, doors and vents. Never locate a generator inside your home.
View additional generator safety information.
FirstEnergy is dedicated to integrity, safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company's transmission subsidiaries operate approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Visit FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com and follow FirstEnergy and its operating companies on Twitter: @FirstEnergyCorp, @ToledoEdison, @IlluminatingCo, @OhioEdison, @MonPowerWV, @JCP_L, @Penn_Power, @Penelec, @Met_Ed, @PotomacEdison, @W_Penn_Power.
CONTACT: Todd Meyers – West Penn Power, Penelec, (724) 838-6650; or Lauren Siburkis – Penn Power, Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Company, Toledo Edison, (330) 203-8850; or Hannah Catlett – Mon Power, (440) 554-5346