Press Releases

PUC, PEMA Offer Tips for Residents During Power Outages

April 16, 2007

  HARRISBURG–   With severe storms affecting parts of Pennsylvania, the state Public Utility Commission (PUC) and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) are reporting about 87,000 customers are without electricity at this time and providing tips for those residents who have lost electrical power.

           As of 2 p.m., about 87,000 Pennsylvania electric customers are without electricity. Pennsylvania has about 5 million electric customers. The numbers only represent PUC jurisdictional utilities. All of the numbers and restoration times are estimates. The following areas are impacted:

  • PECO: 29,000 outages with about 23,000 of those occurring in Chester and Delaware counties. Restoration for some customers may take two to four days.
  • Penelec: 8,300 outages – principal areas are Wyoming and Sullivan counties
  • Met-Ed: 5,531 outages – principal areas are Easton, Boyertown, Reading, Stroudsburg and York
  • Penn Power: 1,386 outages – principally around New Castle
  • PPL Electric: 33,000 outages – principal areas are state Route 209 corridor in Northumberland, Schuylkill and Carbon  counties; Poconos; Lancaster with various other scattered outages. Restoration is expected by 11 p.m. today for the areas of Lancaster, Lehigh, Harrisburg and Williamsport/Sunbury. Restoration is expected by 11 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, 2007, for the other affected areas.
  • Allegheny: 1,129 outages with a half occurring in Strattonville, Pa.
  • UGI Electric: 1,200 outages in Luzerne County mainly in the in Dallas and Jackson townships.

         The non-PUC jurisdictional Rural Electric Cooperatives also have about 7,000 customers without power.

         Due to the high winds being experienced outage counts and actual restoration times can fluctuate widely as new outages will occur as other service is restored.  Priority restoration is given to locations that can restore larger numbers of customers and high priority customers such as nursing homes, emergency shelters, emergency governmental services and hospitals.

         The PUC and PEMA offer the following tips for residents during a power outage:

When the lights go out

  • Call your utility. Don't expect that others in your neighborhood have already called.
  • Use a phone that does not require electricity to work. A cellular phone or corded phone will work. Remember a cordless phone won’t work without electricity.
  • Turn off lights and electrical appliances except for the refrigerator and freezer. When power comes back on, it may come back with momentary "surges" or "spikes" that can damage equipment. After you turn the lights off, turn one lamp on so you will know when power is restored. Wait at least 15 minutes after power is restored before turning on other appliances.
  • Only use a flashlight or battery-operated lanterns for emergency lighting. Do not use candles.
  • Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer.  Food can stay cold for a couple of hours if the doors remain closed. For longer outages, plan to place refrigerator and freezer items in coolers with ice. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • If you are going to use a generator, do not run it inside a home or garage. If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a generator to a home's electrical system.

      Driving during a power outage

  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic signals will stop working during an outage, creating traffic congestion. If traffic lights are out, treat all intersections as 4-way stops. It’s required by law for safety.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and sagging trees with broken limbs.

      Downed power lines

  • Don’t touch or get near any fallen lines.
  • Stay away from objects or puddles in contact with downed power lines.
  • Notify the utility company.

Flooding and electric power

  • Avoid downed utility lines and standing water because “hot wires” could exist below the water line.
  • If your home has sustained flood or water damage, and you can safely get to the main breaker or fuse box, turn off the power.
  • Do not turn off the power if you are wet or standing in water.
  • If electrical service has not been disconnected at the home, avoid standing water, again there may be some hot wires below the water line.
  • Submerged fuse boxes and all of their contents must be replaced. Allow time for drying and then spray them with contact cleaner or lubricant.
  • Don't turn the electricity back on until the whole system has been checked by a licensed electrician.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities to ensure safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protect the public interest; educate consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; further economic development; and foster new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner. For recent news releases, audio of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our Web site at


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Contact:Press Secretary

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
Press Office
P.O. Box 3265, Harrisburg, PA 17105-3265
(717) 787-5722 FAX (717) 787-4193

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