FirstEnergy Electric Companies Preparing for Severe Weekend Weather
Company personnel ready to respond to outages caused by high winds and heavy rain
AKRON, Ohio, March 24, 2023 -- FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) electric company personnel are prepared to respond to service interruptions caused by a storm system that is expected to bring high winds and heavy rain this weekend to Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Company meteorologists have been tracking the storm for several days. The system is expected to bring periods of significant rainfall, strong wind gusts of more than 50 miles per hour and potential thunderstorms to central and eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania and western West Virginia on Saturday. With rain accumulations of more than four inches possible in some areas, localized flooding could occur. Precipitation began late Thursday and is expected to continue into late Saturday for many areas, while sustained winds and heavy gusts, peaking Saturday afternoon, are expected through early Sunday morning.
The winds and 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.
"While we invest in our electric system throughout the year to enhance reliability for customers, high winds and heavy rain have the potential to cause power outages and can also pose challenges to our crews as they work to make repairs," said Sam Belcher, senior vice president of FirstEnergy and president of FirstEnergy Utilities. "We are taking every step to ensure we are prepared to restore electric service to customers as quickly and safely as possible."
FirstEnergy's electric companies are implementing storm response plans, which include staffing additional operators, damage assessors and analysts at distribution control centers, and arranging to bring in additional line, substation and forestry personnel, as needed, based on the severity of the weather. In addition, the company has notified contractors to be ready to assist with restoration efforts. FirstEnergy representatives have also been in contact with emergency management officials, state officials, regulators and local officials about the company's storm preparation efforts.
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 "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.
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 www.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.
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, Met-Ed, (724) 838-6650; Will Boye – Penn Power, Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Company, Toledo Edison, (301) 790-6420; Hannah Catlett – Mon Power, Potomac Edison, (440) 554-5346; Chris Hoenig – Jersey Central Power & Light, (609) 350-8599