PPL Electric Utilities is preparing for potentially significant damage and power outages from Hurricane Sandy, poised to affect the region starting Sunday.
"According to current forecasts, this could be the most severe storm to date this year," said David Bonenberger, vice president of Distribution Operations. "We're continuously monitoring weather reports, and we'll have the necessary crews and resources in place to respond to whatever comes our way."
Crews from PPL Electric Utilities' sister utilities in Kentucky will be in the area as early as Sunday night. In addition, contractors who normally assist PPL Electric Utilities with storm restoration have been notified to remain local so they can be called on if necessary.
The utility placed its emergency response organization on high alert and canceled time off for its operations personnel next week. Between today and Monday, utility personnel will be reviewing available staffing, preparing for additional supplies, and arranging for housing and feeding of personnel visiting from outside the area.
Since the busy storm season of 2011, PPL Electric Utilities has made numerous storm response improvements, including increasing phone lines for customer service and expanding emergency call capacity to better handle high volumes of customer calls during major storms. The company also has initiated an alert system and enhanced outage information for customers.
Customers experiencing outages are asked to report them at 1-800-342-5775 (1-800-DIAL PPL) or through the online Outage Center at www.pplelectric.com/outagecenter . When prompted, customers reporting by phone should press 1 for "Power Problem." The Outage Center also is available on smart phones or other mobile devices.
Nor'easter storms can leave significant damage with downed trees, power lines and possibly localized flooding.
"Reporting outages is important because the more information we get, the better we can assess damage and prioritize repairs," Bonenberger said.
Customers also can sign up for PPL Alerts at the Outage Center site and receive updates on outages affecting them. Participants can choose to get the alerts by phone, text or email, or all three.
Staying safe is paramount in severe weather. PPL Electric Utilities advises the public to:
Ÿ Stay clear of downed power lines.
Ÿ Do not use gas ovens or ranges to heat your home.
Ÿ Avoid candles and use flashlights instead. Candles can cause a fire if tipped by animals or people, or if they come in contact with a combustible item.
Ÿ Never run a generator in your home, basement, or other indoor space where exhaust fumes may accumulate.
Other steps to take in an outage also are available at the utility's online Outage Center.
PPL Electric Utilities, a subsidiary of PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL), provides electric delivery services to about 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania.
More information is available at www.pplelectric.com .