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PUC Provides Outage Reminders in Advance of Expected Storm

March 05, 2013

HARRISBURG – With weather forecasts calling for significant accumulations of heavy, wet snow for much of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today reminded customers of what to do when the electricity goes out.

When electricity is lost, priority restoration is given to locations that can restore larger numbers of customers and high priority customers such as nursing homes, emergency shelters, emergency governmental services and hospitals. Consumers should call their utility for the most up-to-date information. The following areas are expected to be impacted:

  • Met-Ed/Penelec/Penn Power/West Penn Power: 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877)

  • PPL: 1-800-342-5775

  • PECO: 1-800-841-4141

  • UGI: 1-800-276-2722

  • Duquesne: 888-393-7000

The companies also will be sharing information on social media such as Twitter. You can follow them: @Met_Ed; @Penelec; @penn_power; @W_Penn_Power; @PPLElectric; @UGI_Utilities; @DuquesneLight. Consumers should not use social media to report outages or share account information or addresses.

Before the lights go out, the PUC reminds consumers to charge cell phones and other portable electronic devices. The PUC offers the following tips for residents during a power outage:

When the lights go out

  • Call your utility. Don’t expect that others in your neighborhood have already called. Due to the severity of some of the damage, some areas may be without power until the weekend. Your utility can provide you with the most up-to-date information on when to expect power to be restored.

  • Check on elderly neighbors and those with special needs who might need additional assistance.

  • Use a phone that does not require electricity to work. A cellular phone or corded phone will work. Remember a cordless phone won’t work without electricity.

  • Turn off lights and electrical appliances except for the refrigerator and freezer. When power comes back on, it may come back with momentary “surges” or “spikes” that can damage equipment. After you turn the lights off, turn one lamp on so you will know when power is restored. Wait at least 15 minutes after power is restored before turning on other appliances.

  • Only use a flashlight or battery-operated lanterns for emergency lighting. Do not use candles.

  • Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer. Food can stay cold for a couple of hours if the doors remain closed. For longer outages, plan to place refrigerator and freezer items in coolers with ice. If in doubt, throw it out. The state Department of Agriculture has more information on food safety.

  • If you are going to use a generator, do not run it inside a home or garage. If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a generator to a home’s electrical system. Generators also should not be run near any open windows or other areas where carbon monoxide may travel into the home such as air vents.

Driving during a power outage

  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic signals will stop working during an outage, creating traffic congestion. If traffic lights are out, treat all intersections as four-way stops. It’s required by law for safety.

  • Stay away from downed power lines and sagging trees with broken limbs.

Downed power lines

  • Don’t touch or get near any fallen lines.

  • Keep pets inside.

  • Stay away from objects or puddles in contact with downed power lines.

  • Notify the utility company.

  • Never try to remove trees or limbs from power lines.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

For recent news releases, video and audio of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at Follow the PUC on Twitter – @PA_PUC for all things utility. “Like” PAPowerSwitch on Facebook for easy access to information on electric shopping.

Contact: Jennifer Kocher
Press Secretary

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