HARRISBURG – With Old Man Winter promising ice and a wintry mix for much of the state, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today provided tips for those residents who may lose electrical power.
When the lights go out
- Call your utility. Don't expect that others in your neighborhood have already called. Your utility can provide you with the most up-to-date information on when to expect power to be restored.
- Check on elderly neighbors and those with special needs who might need additional assistance.
- Use a phone that does not require electricity to work. Remember a cordless phone won’t work without electricity. Cable and VoIP service may not work. However, customers should familiarize themselves with their in-home equipment and locate the battery backup that will allow for a 911 call, if needed.
- Keep your cellular phones charged. A cellular phone or corded phone on a landline may work if you are using traditional phone service.
- 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. The state Department of Agriculture has more information on food safety.
- 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. Generators also should not be run near any open windows or other areas where carbon monoxide may travel into the home such as air vents.
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 four-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.
- Never try to remove trees or limbs from power lines.
Consumers should contact their electric utility if they experience an outage.
- Met-Ed/Penelec/Penn Power/West Penn Power: 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877)
- PPL: 1-800-342-5775
- PECO: 1-800-841-4141
- UGI: 1-800-276-2722
- Duquesne: 888-393-7000
- Citizens: 570-524-2231
- Wellsboro: 570-724-3516
- Pike County: 570-724-3516
The companies also will be sharing information on social media such as Twitter. You can follow them: @Met_Ed; @Penelec; @penn_power; @W_Penn_Power; @PPLElectric; @UGI_Utilities; @DuquesneLight; @PECOconnect; @ORUconnect and @Citelectric. Consumers should not use social media to report outages or share account information or addresses.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
For recent news releases and video of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at www.puc.pa.gov. Follow the PUC on Twitter – @PA_PUC for all things utility. “Like” PAPowerSwitch on Facebook for easy access to information on electric shopping.
# # #