September 15, 2008
FirstEnergy Continues Restoration Efforts to Approximately One Million Customers Affected By Severe Wind Storm
AKRON, Ohio, Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Unexpected high winds that moved through northern Ohio and western Pennsylvania on Sunday afternoon, September 14, interrupted electric service to approximately one million customers of FirstEnergy Corp.'s Ohio Edison and Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company subsidiaries in Ohio, and Penn Power and Penelec subsidiaries in western Pennsylvania. These high winds, generated by the remnants of Hurricane Ike, caused downed branches, trees and power lines throughout the region. Due to the widespread damage to electrical facilities, it could take several days for complete power restoration in some areas.
Crews have already restored power to about half of the customers affected by the storm, but still have thousands of locations where repairs need to be made. Because safety remains a top priority, crews are responding to downed wire reports at about 12,000 sites, making those sites safe before restoring service.
All available crews are working to restore service in the hardest-hit areas of Cleveland, Akron, Springfield and Youngstown in Ohio and Erie, Pa. As of 10:00 a.m. today, some 500,000 customers in these areas remain without power. Crews from FirstEnergy's Toledo Edison, Met-Ed and Jersey Central Power & Light subsidiaries are en route to assist company crews restoring service in the affected areas.
With restoration efforts continuing over the next several days, water and ice will be distributed free of charge at Giant Eagle stores.
FirstEnergy has handled approximately a quarter million phone calls from customers affected by the outages and urges customers to use the automated outage reporting line - 1-888-544-4877 (1-888-LIGHTSS) - to report any outages. Customers responding to downed lines are urged to follow the prompts or to report the downed lines to their local police or fire departments.
Customers are cautioned never to touch downed lines. Customers should always assume downed wires are carrying electricity and are reminded to keep their children and pets away from downed wires. Customers should never try to remove trees or limbs from power lines because they could conduct electricity.
They should wait for emergency services or utility crews to arrive.
Tips for customers without power: -- Call 1-888-544-4877 (1-888-LIGHTSS) to report your outage-it's the fastest way to begin the restoration process. -- Avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer. A full freezer can keep food frozen for up to three days if it's kept closed. -- Unplug major appliances until after the power has been restored. Keep one light connected so you will know when the power is back on. -- Never use a stove or oven to heat your home. -- Burning candles should never be left unattended in a house. -- Gasoline-powered generators should never be operated inside a home or attached garage.
CONTACT: Ellen Raines of FirstEnergy Corp., +1-330-384-5808
Web site: http://www.firstenergycorp.com/