Utilities preparing for Sandy
POCONOS – Fourteen months after Tropical Storm Irene caused havoc in the region, a much bigger storm is bearing down and according to some forecasts, could make more of a direct hit on the Poconos, if it veers northwest while still in the mid-Atlantic. Other prediction models keep the storm offshore, making landfall somewhere in New England.
Utilities serving the area say they are doing what they can to prepare
“According to current forecasts, this could be the most severe storm to date this year,” said David Bonenberger, vice president of Distribution Operations for PPL Electric Utilities. “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’s 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.
FirstEnergy, parent company of Met-Ed, is mobilizing internal crews and support personnel to assist in the restoration process if the storm causes large-scale power outages in Pennsylvania. In addition, the company is securing outside utility crews, electrical contractors and tree contractors.
"Based on current predictions, we are making plans to position our crews to get ahead of the storm and minimize the impact on our customers," said Chuck Jones, president of FirstEnergy Utilities. "FirstEnergy crews and additional hazard teams and support staff are ready to assist the restoration process."
Pike County Light and Power’s parent, Orange and Rockland, has declared a company-wide Storm Watch today in anticipation of a major storm system’s moving through the region this weekend.
O&R’s Storm Function coordinators have been ordered to prepare their organizations for activation. O&R’s first-response organizations have begun preparing weekend work schedules and ramping up so they’ll be ready to go at the first sign of severe, storm-related damage.
O&R Emergency Preparedness planners also are consulting with neighboring utilities about the impact along the storm’s path and have been discussing preparations with the various mutual aid organizations to which the Company belongs.
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