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Storm Messages

Hurricane Sandy  

View our photo gallery of storm damage and restoration efforts.


Final restoration push

Monday 12 p.m. EST

The last pockets of damage from Hurricane Sandy continue to be the focus of thousands of utility workers today (11/5) as PPL Electric Utilities seeks to complete the repairs from damage left by the massive pre-Halloween storm. All storm-related repairs are expected to be completed by 11 p.m. today. Areas with the largest number of remaining storm-related outages include Lehigh, Northampton and Bucks counties.


PPL Electric Utilities nearer to completion

Sunday 7 p.m. EST

We will have restored 99 percent of our customers left without power by Hurricane Sandy by late tonight (11/4). The extent of the destruction will require some repairs to extend into Monday (11/5).

Backed by the largest force ever assembled by PPL Electric Utilities, we expect to complete work Monday in communities where power outages remain in areas of Lehigh, Northampton, Bucks, Montgomery and Wayne counties in eastern Pennsylvania.

We continue to move workers into those communities as crews complete work elsewhere and have been contacting customers not expected to have service restored by tonight.

Power was expected to be on by tonight at all public schools and voting locations in the PPL Electric Utilities service area.


Alert system off due to technical issues

Sunday 11 a.m. EST

Our alert system is having technical difficulties, so we’ve turned it off until we can identify and fix the problem. For status updates, please go to pplelectric.com or call 1-800-DIAL-PPL (1-800-342-5775). We apologize for errant messages some customers have received about when their power will be restored. Crews continue to be added to the restoration effort in eastern Pennsylvania. 


95% of customers restored, work continues

Sunday 9:30 a.m. EST

As of 9:30 a.m. Sunday (11/4), we’ve restored service to 95 percent of the customers affected. About 23,444 outages remain, primarily in Bucks, Carbon, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Pike and Wayne counties. To deal with these remaining outages, we have significantly increased the number of line crews working in these regions. 

We moved another 100 line workers into eastern Pennsylvania today, specifically to the Poconos and northeast Pennsylvania, the Lehigh Valley and Bucks and Montgomery counties. This is in addition to the more than 600 line additional line workers moved into the region during the past two days. Power restoration efforts are non-stop and around the clock. The goal remains to restore all affected customers by 11 p.m. today, though it is possible that some outages will remain into Monday. 


Progress continues tonight

Saturday 8 p.m. EST

We continue to make steady progress with restoring service to our remaining customers affected by Hurricane Sandy. The vast majority of our crews are concentrated in the Lehigh Valley, northeastern Pennsylvania and Bucks and Montgomery counties.

The damage to our equipment in some places is severe. Crews are sometimes uncovering even more destruction when they arrive at trouble locations. In these final days of power restoration, the number of customers restored by each repair job typically is smaller because the remaining damage spots affect very small pockets of customers, sometimes even a single customer. Bringing in hundreds of extra linemen will help the pace of that effort.

More than 425,000 customers have had service restored since Sandy hit Monday. About 38,000 customers remained out of service across our service territory as of 8 p.m. today with vast majority in eastern Pennsylvania where we were hardest hit.


Significant progress being made

Saturday 1 p.m. EST

PPL Electric Utilities is pouring more and more manpower into eastern Pennsylvania as the final push continues this weekend to repair the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy. Approximate ly 600 additional line workers, now finished working in other areas of our service territory, arrived Friday and today to supplement the existing army of repair crews. The additional manpower brings the total workforce in the eastern part of the state to 2,500.

More than 380,000 customers have had service restored since Sandy hit Monday.About 57,000 customers remained out of service across our service territory as of 10:30 a.m. today with vast majority in eastern Pennsylvania where we were hardest hit. About 28,000 of those are in the Lehigh Valley, 11,000 in the areas of Bucks and Montgomery County we serve, and about 18,000 in the Poconos and other areas of northeast Pennsylvania. Read more...


PPL Electric Utilities continues to make power restoration progress

Friday 6:50 p.m. EST

For a look at what it takes to restore power in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, check out this video:

Restoration Video

Video transcript:

Hurricane Sandy was one of the most damaging storms ever to hit our service area in central and eastern Pennsylvania. With gusty winds and soaking rain, the storm knocked down trees, limbs, poles and wires throughout our 29-county service area. More than 440,000 customers lost power as a result of the hurricane. The Lehigh Valley, Bucks and Montgomery counties, and the Poconos were hardest hit.

We beefed up our workforce to prepare for the storm’s arrival. And after the storm, we continued to reach out to other utilities and contractors for help. We gathered the largest workforce ever to fight a storm in our territory – about 5,000 people, including more than 3,000 in the field. Out-of-town crews slept in tent and trailer camps in between 16-hour days of removing trees and replacing wires.

In many cases, tree crews needed to remove downed trees before electrical crews could begin repairing lines. It’s been time-consuming, difficult work. We are committed to continuing the round-the-clock repair effort until all of our customers are back in service.


Free cup of coffee Saturday and Sunday morning at select Weis Markets

Friday 5:45 p.m. EST

PPL Electric Utilities has arranged for the Weis Market stores in the following counties to provide free coffee from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., this weekend: Lehigh, Northampton, Montgomery, Monroe, Bucks, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wayne, and Pike.

We know it's not the same as being able to brew a cup at home, but it's a small thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to repair the devastating damage Hurricane Sandy brought to some of the hardest hit areas of our service territory. See the list of stores offering free coffee.


Crews face daunting jobs

Friday 3:00 p.m. EST

We are working on hundreds of jobs to clean up damage to trees and power lines across eastern Pennsylvania, from Bucks and Montgomery counties to the far northeast around the Lake region. Each of the jobs often involves tree contractors first to clear debris, then utility line workers follow. In most cases, several crews must work together for several hours – sometimes, even longer than a full day, due to the extent of damage.

In one case in the White Haven area, crews faced 35 spans of wire down – a span is the stretch of conductor between two poles. The job also involved several broken poles, five transformers needed to be replaced along with other pole-top facilities. Seven tree crews worked first. Fifty-five utility linemen worked on the repairs, supported by PennDOT personnel. It is tedious, labor-intensive and time-consuming action. All of the activity must proceed very deliberately and well-coordinated for safety. The job was completed after 13 hours. It is one of a few thousand individual trouble cases that involve customers without service.

Not far away, in Kidder Twp., numerous tall trees fell, 25 spans of wire came down, breaking six poles and 10 transformers. Thirty-seven crews worked together for 13 hours. Each job is different.

All of the crews are working 16-hour shifts, supported by dispatchers, system operators, foremen, and many others behind the scenes working around the clock.


PPL Electric Utilities restores 75 percent of Hurricane Sandy outages

Friday 1:14 p.m. EST

PPL Electric Utilities continues to make power restoration progress in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, with 75 percent of affected customers now back in service. Utility officials said the goal remains to restore power to 80 to 85 percent of all affected customers across its system by 11 p.m. today and to have the lights back on for all — including the Lehigh Valley, parts of Bucks and Montgomery counties, the Poconos and northeast Pennsylvania — by 11 p.m. Sunday (11/4).

The time targets mean the utility is working to have the last of the affected customers in those areas restored by that time. Most will have power back well before that point. Crews are discovering extreme damage in some locations and it is possible that small pockets of outages in places where crews are confronted with extensive work to remove trees and rebuild power lines could remain into Monday or Tuesday. If there are customers who are not expected to get power restored by 11 p.m. Sunday, they will be notified.

About 113,000 customers remained out of service across the utility’s 10,000-square-mile service territory as of 12 p.m. today. Nearly 330,000 have had electric service restored since the storm began Monday. The utility is projecting another 50,000 customers will have power restored by the end of today. Read more...


 

Free cup of coffee Friday morning at select Weis Markets

Thursday 6:30 p.m. EST

PPL Electric Utilities has arranged for the Weis Market stores in the following counties to provide free coffee from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., Friday, Nov. 2: Lehigh, Northampton, Montgomery, Monroe, Bucks, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wayne, and Pike.

We know it's not the same as being able to brew a cup at home, but it's a small thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to repair the devastating damage Hurricane Sandy brought to some of the hardest hit areas of our service territory. See the list of stores offering free coffee.


Estimating restoration times: What takes so long?

Thursday 6:30 p.m. EST

When there is extensive storm damage, some customers receive “area” estimated restorations times as we continue assess repair times. These estimates represent a worst-case scenario. Most customers will have power restored before the area restoration time estimate. As of 9 a.m. Thursday (11/1), service has been restored to more than half of the customers who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy, and we expect to have power restored to 80-85 percent of the customers across our system by the end of the day Friday (11/2). View an interview with PPL Electric Utilities on storm restoration efforts.


Significant restoration progress being made

Thursday 5:30 p.m. EST

We continue to make significant progress with restoring service to customers affected by the powerful storm. We still face hard work and complex repair jobs resulting from downed trees, multiple broken poles and cross arms on poles and damaged equipment such as transformers.

So far, we have restored service to more than 50 percent of the customers affected, and expect to restore 80 to 85 percent of the customers affected by the end of the day Friday. 


Free cup of coffee Thursday morning at Weis Markets

Wednesday 6:30 p.m. EST

Java in the morning a daily routine for many. Knowing that Hurricane Sandy has disrupted the lives of many of our customers, PPL Electric Utilities has arranged for all of the Weis stores in our service area to provide free coffee from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 1.

We know it's not the same as being able to brew a cup at home, but it's a small thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to repair the devastating damage Hurricane Sandy brought to our area.   


More About Estimated Restoration Times

Wednesday 6:30 p.m. EST

When power outages occur, PPL Electric Utilities understands how important it is to give customers accurate estimates of when their service will be restored.

Estimated restoration times (ERTs) allow affected families and businesses to make decisions to minimize the effects of an outage on their lives and operations.

Hurricane Sandy caused significant damage in some areas and required an extensive assessment effort across our 10,000-square-mile service area.

We need to assess damage before we can estimate the extent of repairs needed.

Because of that extensive damage, we initially established “area” estimated restoration times. These are target dates and times for a specific region of our service territory by which we believe the last of the affected customers will have power restored. Those “area” estimates were provided Wednesday (10/31).

These “area” estimates represent a worst-case scenario. Most will have power restored before the “area” restoration time estimate. We anticipate that the vast majority of the customers in the Lehigh Valley and northeastern Pennsylvania who received the 11 p.m. Sunday message – the latest “area” ERT on our system –  will be restored much sooner

In general, about 80-85 percent of the customers across our system who were affected by the storm will have had power restored by the end of the day Friday (11/2). We don’t know specifically which customers will be restored by then because the sheer magnitude of the damage means some jobs are not yet scheduled.

As we update assessments and work plans, we will provide updated estimated restoration times to each customer.

For those customers who received multiple or conflicting notices about their ERT, we apologize. That was a glitch that is being addressed.


How we're restoring service after Hurricane Sandy

Wednesday 11 a.m. EST

Since Hurricane Sandy, customers have been asking how PPL Electric Utilities sets priorities for storm restoration work.

Our storm restoration process has been refined by decades of experience, and aligns with approaches used by utilities in especially storm-prone areas. Its goal is simple: To get the most customers back in service as quickly as we can.

Here’s a step-by-step outline of how it works:

  1. We respond immediately to public safety emergencies like fires, floods or wires on or near the ground. 
  2. At the same time, we restore power to public health and safety facilities, such as hospitals or water treatment plants.
  3. While we’re addressing those urgent priorities, we get assessors into the field to assess the extent of damage and the size of individual repair jobs.  
  4. Then, we rank remaining jobs based on how many customers are affected.
  5. The jobs that will bring the most customers back on line are dispatched first. Work involving transmission lines or substations generally gets higher priority, since those jobs bring many customers back into service.

We made extraordinary progress on the first three steps during our first 24 hours of response to Hurricane Sandy. Now, while the assessment process continues, we are focusing on steps 4 and 5.

Just for some perspective: PPL Electric Utilities has about 40,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines. About 40 percent of our customers were affected by the hurricane. If we needed to patrol 40 percent of our lines to assess faults, that’s 16,000 miles of line – or almost two-thirds the circumference of the earth.

Here are answers to customer questions we often hear:

Does the location of a repair job factor into your priorities?

The location of a repair job isn’t a factor. Neither is its difficulty. Our priority is strictly based on numbers: How many customers will be restored?

My neighbors are back in service. Why don’t I have power?

Different neighborhoods in a community -- or even different parts of a single neighborhood -- can be served from different circuits. If your neighbors have service restored before you, they may have been restored as part of a repair job on a different part of our network that involved more customers.

Sometimes, we also split a repair job into sections, working on one part at a time. It’s possible we were able to restore your neighbors more quickly while we continue to work on a more challenging problem that affects service to your home.

Why do repairs seem to slow down as the days go by?

Toward the end of a storm, every job we restore brings back fewer customers, since we’ve already finished the larger jobs. These last repair jobs often take just as long or longer as larger ones. That’s why the pace of repairs seems to slow at the end. Be assured that we continue to work just as hard and stay just as committed to restoring customers.

Your patience is appreciated as we continue work on Hurricane Sandy restoration. We are working as quickly and safely as we can to restore everyone to power.


System status

Wednesday 11 a.m. EST

We have restored service to 168,000 customers and we will continue working on repairs around the clock each day until every customer is restored. As of 11 a.m.  about 273,000 customers were without power. The hardest hit areas are in the Lehigh Valley, the Poconos and northeastern Pennsylvania, and Bucks County.

We still have more than 3,000 different repair jobs to complete throughout 29 counties. Each of them must be individually assessed.

*** We’re actively working on providing Estimated Restoration Times or ERTs – it’s a balance between providing information our customers need and doing it accurately.


Safety first

Wednesday 11 a.m. EST

Stay away from downed wires.

Generator safety. Customers who lose power and use generators are reminded to shut off their main breaker and keep the generator in an area that allows safe ventilation. One customer in Carbon County died from carbon monoxide poisoning Tuesday. Authorities say he was running a generator in his garage to power his home after losing electricity from Hurricane Sandy. A similar death occurred in Lehigh County.

We encourage our customers to consider what steps they must take to care for themselves, and do what is needed if dealing with prolonged power outages.  We are responding to outages as quickly and as safely as possible.


System status

Tuesday 6 p.m. EST

We have restored service to 102,000 customers and we will continue working on repairs around the clock each day until every customer is restored. As of 6 p.m., about 330,000 customers were without power.

The hardest hit areas are in the Lehigh Valley, the Poconos and northeastern Pennsylvania, and Bucks County.

We expect to be working through the weekend to restore service to all of our customers.

Each repair job requires multiple steps – an assessor to determine the scope of the work, tree contractors to clear debris and make a job site safe, then a line crew to do electrical repairs.

We’re actively working on providing ERTs – it’s a balance between providing information our customers need and doing it accurately.

We expect to begin providing ERTs for many customers tomorrow morning. These will be jobs we expect to work on tomorrow and customers who we expect to get power back tomorrow.

Information about where to find water and ice is available here.  




Reporting outages

Tuesday 6 p.m. EST

Customers should report their power outages at 1-800-DIAL-PPL (800-342-5775) or online at www.pplelectric.com.  The outage website is adapted for mobile phones.

If you have reported your outage, then be assured we know about it and will be working on it. Once we can provide your area with an ERT, you will get an update through PPL Alerts, online via our Outage Center, or by calling our Customer Service automated line.

Repeated calls will tie up lines for other customer emergency calls.



Restoration strategy

Tuesday 6 p.m. EST

Our restoration has focused first on public health safety facilities, such as hospitals and water and sewer facilities, as well as dangerous situations such as downed live wires.

We also move to repair damage that will restore the largest numbers of customers (such as damage to our affected transmission and substation facilities).

Next, we make repairs that will bring the largest numbers of customers back at a time.

We have hundreds of crews in the field and more than 4,800 people working on this storm response.

Help has come from our sister utilities in Kentucky as well as other states, including North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Texas and Missouri. More crews from other utilities outside our region will be joining in the next day or so.


Safety first

Tuesday 6 p.m. EST

Stay away from downed wires.

We encourage our customers to consider what steps they must take to care for themselves, and do what is needed if dealing with prolonged power outages. 

At this time, we ask customers to use our web site – www.pplelectric.com -- for routine customer service business in order to keep the phone lines open for storm-related emergency calls.

Generator safety. Customers who lose power and use generators are reminded to shut off their main breaker and keep the generator in an area that allows safe ventilation.


System status

Tuesday 8 a.m. EST

As the storm moves away and winds subside, we expect to be out in full force making repairs when it is safe for line crews to work using bucket trucks. We have restored nearly 50,000 customers (as of 8:00 a.m.) already during the storm and we will continue to respond to outages as they occur.

As of 6:00 a.m., about 395,000 customers were without power. That number could increase as customers wake up and report additional outages.

At this point, we still can’t pinpoint when individual outages will be restored, but this will be a multi-day outage for some customers, possibly up to a week, due to the extent of widespread damage to our facilities.


Reporting outages

Tuesday 8 a.m. EST

We want customers to report their power outages at 1-800-DIAL-PPL (800-342-5775) or online at www.pplelectric.com. The more information we have, the better we can assess damage and properly prioritize repairs.

If you have reported your outage, then be assured we know about it and are working on it. Repeated calls will tie up lines for other customers trying to report an outage.


Restoration strategy

Tuesday 8 a.m. EST

We have 4,350 people working to restore power.

Our restoration will focus first on public safety facilities, such as hospitals and water and sewer facilities. We also move to repair damage that will restore the largest  numbers of customers.

Next, we look to make repairs that will bring the largest numbers of customers back at one time. We also give priority to “wires down” and other reports of unsafe situations.


Customers: Be safe

Tuesday 8 a.m. EST

Safety first. We encourage our customers to consider what steps they must take care for themselves, stay away from downed wires, and do what is needed if we’re dealing with prolonged power outages.  We will respond to early outages as quickly and as safely as possible.

Generator safety. Customers who lose power and use generators are reminded to shut off their main breaker and keep the generator in an area that allows safe ventilation.


PPL Electric Utilities update

Monday 4 p.m. EST

We have expanded, round-the-clock staffing in customer service, system operations and dispatch, and field operations to address storm trouble. We also have arranged for more than 1,600 additional personnel who will help PPL Electric with damage assessment and storm outage restoration work. Nearly all of those additional workers are already here with more en route. Help is coming from states as far away as North Caroline, Georgia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana and Missouri.  


Restoration strategy

Monday 4 p.m. EST

Once the storm passes, our restoration will focus first on public safety facilities, such as hospitals, nursing homes, and water and sewer facilities. We also move to repair any damage to transmission and substation facilities that impact large numbers of customers. Subsequently, we respond to outage trouble based on the number of affected customers, so we can restore service to the largest number of customers.  


Storm update

Monday 4 p.m. EST

Storm conditions are expected to deteriorate through Tuesday morning. This storm with its waves of heavy rain and strong gusty winds is slow moving and expected to remain in the area for up to 48 hours.


PPL Electric Utilities preparations

Monday 6 a.m. EST

We are fine tuning our preparations and doing everything possible to prepare.  We are committed to keeping customers and the public informed throughout the storm and restoration process.  

About 1,500 outside contractors are arriving in the area to respond to storm damage, tripling PPL Electric Utilities’ normal number of field crews.

We have been communicating with utilities from Florida who have extensive experience dealing with Hurricanes. We have received advice and assurance that we have not overlooked anything in our preparations. 


Customers: Be safe and prepared

Monday 6 a.m. EST

First and foremost, PPL Electric Utilities is interested in the safety of its customers, employees and supplemental workers who will be joining in the response to this storm. The company urges customers to make storm preparations for lengthy outages and to take steps to stay safe.

  • Stock up on non-perishable food and water and think about how to stay warm if the power goes out.
  • Customers who need special consideration due to medical needs should make arrangements to relocate or contact 911 as necessary.
  • If you plan to use a portable generator: disconnect from the main breaker and keep the area well ventilated.
  • Be careful of wet leaves and check to be sure that outside storm drains are clear to avoid flooding. 
  • Tips on storm preparations are available on our outage center and on www.readypa.org and
  • Most importantly, contact us if you lose service. Report an outage here or call 1-800-DIAL-PPL.

Stay informed

Monday 6 a.m. EST

We encourage all customers to sign up for PPL Alerts before the storm arrives. The system allows customers to receive important information about power outages by phone. 

You can also access our mobile outage center on your smart phone at m.pplelectric.com.

Please follow us on Twitter @PPLElectric and on Facebook for the latest updates.   


Weather

Monday 6 a.m. EST

Hurricane Sandy may bring unprecedented damage to the communities we serve. We are actively monitoring and preparing for the severe weather that is expected to arrive throughout our service territory beginning around noon on Monday through Tuesday morning.  Concerns include sustained heavy rains, high wind gusts and potential flooding.