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FirstEnergy utilities prepare for summer storms

6/20/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

WEST AKRON — FirstEnergy is preparing for the possible impact of summer storms by implementing its storm preparation process.

Last week, as severe weather threatened, company-wide conference calls were held, which included reviewing line, hazard, dispatch and forestry crew staffing needs, and forestry and electrical contractors were notified they could be required to assist with storm restoration efforts. In addition, FirstEnergy was in contact with utility mutual assistance groups to determine if outside utility crews would be available to assist, if needed.

FirstEnergy customer call centers were fully staffed. Customers who are without power during severe weather are encouraged to call 1-888-LIGHTSS to report their outage or click the “Report an Outage” link on www.firstenergycorp.com via smartphone.

For updated information on the company’s storm preparation efforts, current outages, FirstEnergy’s storm restoration process and tips for staying safe, customers may visit the 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages. The operating companies also will provide updates via Twitter, including, in the Akron area, Ohio Edison @OhioEdison.

Outage preparation tips

Customers can take the following steps to prepare for the possibility of outages caused by summer storms:

  • Keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy. Use care when burning candles, since open flames are a fire hazard.
  • If you have a water well and pump, keep an emergency supply of bottled water and/or fill your bathtub with fresh water.
  • Stock an emergency supply of convenience foods that do not require cooking.
  • Keep a battery-powered radio with extra batteries on hand. Tune to a local station for current storm information.
  • Have a hard-wired telephone or a charged cell phone handy in the event you need to report your electricity is out. Mobile phones can be charged in your vehicle using a car charger when the power is out. If you have a smartphone, this will ensure you have access to online information sources.

Downed wires

Customers should immediately report downed wires to their local utility or local police or fire department. Customers should never go near a downed power line, even if they think it’s no longer carrying electricity.

Don’t try to remove trees or tree limbs from power lines. Wait for utility crews to arrive.

Customer generators

Emergency power generators offer an option for customers needing or wanting uninterrupted service. However, to ensure the safety of the home’s occupants, as well as that of utility company employees who might be working on power lines in the area, the proper generator should be selected and installed by a qualified electrician. When operating a generator, the power coming into the home should always be disconnected. Otherwise, power from the generator could be sent back onto the utility lines, creating a hazardous situation for utility workers.

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