FirstEnergy Electric Companies Prepare to Respond to Outages Caused by Incoming Winter Weather
AKRON, Ohio – FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) electric company personnel are prepared to respond to potential service interruptions caused by a winter storm system expected to bring high winds, snow and heavy rain to portions of the company’s service areas in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and West Virginia this week.
A video playlist of utility personnel discussing the impact of wind storms on equipment and restoration efforts is available on YouTube.
Company meteorologists have been tracking the storm for several days. The system is expected to bring the following conditions to each state:
- Ohio: Wet snow is expected to fall across parts of northern and central Ohio beginning early Tuesday morning before transitioning to rain later in the day Tuesday through Wednesday. Strong wind gusts of more than 50 miles per hour (mph) are expected, with some areas along the northeast Ohio lakeshore reaching wind speeds of more than 60 mph.
- Pennsylvania: Snow is expected in northern and central Pennsylvania early Tuesday and will become increasingly wet throughout the day before transitioning to rain. Heavy rains are expected across most portions of central and eastern Pennsylvania, with localized flooding possible through Wednesday. Strong wind gusts of more than 50 mph are expected, with some areas along the northwestern lakeshore reaching wind speeds of more than 60 mph.
- New Jersey: Heavy rain is expected to begin Tuesday afternoon, with localized flooding possible through Wednesday. Strong wind gusts of more than 50 mph are expected early Wednesday, with some areas along the coastline reaching wind speeds of more than 60 mph.
- West Virginia and Maryland: A mixture of snow and freezing rain is expected beginning Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday morning before changing to rain. On Wednesday, wind gusts up to 55 mph are expected in eastern West Virginia and western Maryland.
Wade Smith, President of FirstEnergy Utilities: “While we invest in our electric system throughout the year to keep power flowing to customers in all weather conditions, the combination of high winds; heavy, wet snow and rain carries the potential for power outages and presents challenges for our crews during repair efforts. We are vigilantly monitoring both the current storm system and the forecasted severe weather over the next week, and we are committed to taking every necessary step to ensure safe and prompt restoration of electric service for our customers.”
FirstEnergy’s electric companies are implementing storm response plans, which include:
- Implementing 16-hour-shifts for storm personnel with around-the-clock coverage.
- Staffing additional internal operators, damage assessors and analysts at distribution control centers to assist with high volumes of outage calls.
- Notifying contractors to be ready to assist with restoration efforts.
- Securing additional line, substation and forestry personnel.
- Contacting emergency management officials, state officials, regulators and local officials about the company's storm preparation efforts.
Sustained winds and heavy rain could slow restoration efforts, as crews cannot safely operate bucket trucks when wind speeds exceed 40 miles per hour. Saturated soil and flooding can also hinder access and create hazardous conditions for crews as they work to make repairs to lines and equipment damaged by fallen trees and branches.
After a major weather event, hundreds or even thousands of damage locations, including broken poles and downed power lines, are common. FirstEnergy personnel prioritize clearing hazards like downed power lines, trees and blocked roads to ensure public safety. Employees must also assess the damage to enable line crews to access outage sites and initiate safe repairs. The formal restoration process focuses on addressing widespread outages first, before tackling more isolated issues.
How to Report Power Outages and Downed Lines
Customers who experience a service interruption due to the storm are encouraged to report their outage by calling 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877), texting OUT to LIGHTS (544487) or clicking the “Outages” link on 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 firstenergycorp.com/connect.
High winds and saturated soil can bring 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 firstenergycorp.com/outages.
Customers Encouraged to Prepare in Advance of the Storm
FirstEnergy encourages customers to plan for the possibility of power outages due to the impending storm by following these tips:
- Keep electronic devices such as cell phones, laptops and tablets fully charged.
- Have a car charger on-hand to charge mobile devices if your power is out. If you have a smart phone, this will ensure you have access to online information sources.
- Keep a flashlight, portable radio and extra batteries handy in the event of a power outage. Tune to a local station for current storm information.
- Do not use gas stoves, kerosene heaters or other open-flame heat sources to prevent deadly carbon monoxide gas from building up in your home.
- If you have a water well and pump, keep an emergency supply of bottled water and/or fill your bathtub with fresh water.
- Stock an emergency supply of convenience foods that do not require cooking.
- Consider having a hard-wired phone available to report an outage or emergency. A plain, hard-wired phone can operate on power delivered through the phone line.
- 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 firstenergycorp.com and follow FirstEnergy and its operating companies on X, formerly known as Twitter, @FirstEnergyCorp, @ToledoEdison, @IlluminatingCo, @OhioEdison, @MonPowerWV, @JCP_L, @Penn_Power, @Penelec, @Met_Ed, @PotomacEdison, @W_Penn_Power.
News Media Contacts: Todd Meyers – West Penn Power, Penelec, Met-Ed, (724) 838-6650; Lauren Siburkis – Penn Power, Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Company, Toledo Edison, (330) 203-8850; Hannah Catlett – Mon Power, Potomac Edison, (440) 554-5346; Chris Hoenig – Jersey Central Power & Light, (609) 350-8599