PPL continues working to repair Irene damage
PPL Electric Utilities crews continue to clean up the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, working around the clock to restore power to more than 230,000 customers so far.
As of 5 a.m. Tuesday, about 51,000 customers remain without power across the utility's service area in central and eastern Pennsylvania.
In Carbon County, there were 713 customers still without power at 7:45 a.m. today. More than 200 of these customers are in Penn Forest and Kidder townships. Mahoning Township had 87 PPL customers in the dark yet this morning, while much of Parryville had no power - 80 customers affected.
Schuylkill County, which at one point had nearly 23,000 customers without electric, still has 3,756 customers who need it restored.
There had been 28,800 customers in Monroe County who had no electric. Nearly a third of them, 9,076 still are waiting for their electricity to come back.
Lehigh County had nearly 60,000 customers without electricity during Irene. Over 23,000 were in Allentown.
A total of 3,845 customers were still without the power this morning, including 417 customers in Washington Township.
As she swirled through Pennsylvania, Hurricane Irene left significant damage to electrical equipment, flooding substations, downing trees on wires and destroying poles. Overall, PPL Electric Utilities reported more than 4,000 cases of trouble that needed to be assessed and repaired. Each individual job represents a handful of customers or a few hundred, and cases are dispatched in order based on the largest number of customers that can be restored.
The utility expects most customers will be restored within three to five days. A small number of outages, representing possibly 1 percent of affected customers, could linger into the weekend. Hundreds of line and tree crews are working around the clock to restore service with roughly 2,300 employees and contractors actively engaged in the recovery effort.
With many of the biggest jobs completed in the first few days of the restoration effort, crews are now focused on repairs that bring back fewer customers at a time.
"With more than two-thirds of customers back in service we have made a lot of progress, but we won't rest until the last customer is able to turn the lights back on," said Dave Bonenberger, director of system emergency. "We want to assure those customers still without electricity that are crews are dedicated to doing everything in their power to quickly and safely restore your service."
In addition to PPL Electric Utilities' own crews and local contractors, the utility is receiving assistance from utility companies in Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, New York and Ohio. Behind the scenes, support employees are working extended shifts to ensure field personnel have the information, materials and equipment, and other services they need.
Based on the number of customer outages, Hurricane Irene ranks as the second-worst storm to hit PPL Electric Utilities' service area over the past 20 years, trailing only Hurricane Isabel of 2003, which affected 495,000 customers.
Estimated current outages by county and municipality are available at www.pplelectric.com/outage.
Customers without power who have not yet reported their outages are asked to call 1-800-DIAL-PPL (1-800-342-5775) or online at www.pplelectric.com/outage. Please try again if you do not get through the first time. Customers who have already reported outages are asked not to call back for updates so others can get through.
Customers experiencing prolonged outages can visit PPL Electric Utilities' online outage center at www.pplelectric.com/outage for information on ice and water distributors.
PPL Electric Utilities, a subsidiary of PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL), provides electric delivery services to about 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania and has consistently ranked among the best companies for customer service in the United States. More information is available at www.pplelectric.com.