Power restored to 99 percent of area homes
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS A PPL crew parks on Rowe Street in Tamaqua as they do repairs to power lines leading into the generator behind the Tamaqua Salvation Army.
PPL Electric Utilities has restored 99 percent of its customers left without power by Hurricane Sandy by late Sunday night. The extent of the destruction will require some repairs involving a few thousand customers, extending into today.
"We have the largest force ever assembled by PPL Electric Utilities undoing the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, and they have brought power back for well over 400,000 of our customers," said Dave Bonenberger, vice president of Distribution Operations for PPL Electric Utilities. "With the extensive damage from this storm and the time it's taking to complete many complex jobs, unfortunately a few thousand customers will be without power into Monday."
The utility was contacting customers not expected to have service restored by last night. It expects to complete restoration work today in communities where power outages remain and continues to move workers into those communities as crews complete work elsewhere.
Outages continued into today in some areas of Lehigh, Northampton, Bucks, Montgomery and Wayne counties in eastern Pennsylvania.
"As we near the end of the recovery effort, the jobs that remain are restoring power to ever-smaller numbers of customers, but our workforce of more than 5,000 people, including 3,000 field workers, has maintained the same level of urgency throughout this difficult process," Bonenberger said.
PPL Electric Utilities has added 700 line workers in eastern Pennsylvania since Friday after those workers finished working in other areas of the PPL Electric Utilities service territory.
Utility workers from at least 10 different states, including PPL Electric Utilities' sister utilities in Kentucky, are supporting storm damage restoration. The size of the field workforce is more than triple the size of PPL Electric Utilities' field workforce in normal conditions.
Power was expected by Sunday night at all public schools and voting locations in the PPL Electric Utilities service area.
PPL Electric Utilities' automated system that provides customer messages on estimated restoration times was turned off after technical problems on Saturday resulted in customers receiving inaccurate messages.
Customers can call 1-800-DIAL-PPL (1-800-342-5775) or check pplelectric.com for restoration updates. The utility's outage web site is adapted for mobile phones at www.pplelectric.com