@DXWorldExpo Authors: Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, William Schmarzo, Liz McMillan

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FirstEnergy Utilities Prepared for Winter Storm

Widespread Snow and Winds Expected Across Territory

AKRON, Ohio, Dec. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) crews are prepared and ready to respond to any outages caused by a severe winter storm forecast across most of its utilities' service territories today and Thursday.

The storm is expected to produce a wintry mix of snow and ice in Ohio, western and central Pennsylvania, the Northern Panhandle and higher elevations of West Virginia and western Maryland.  High winds are expected in northwest Ohio and portions of New Jersey.  The potential for damaging ice also exists in southeastern West Virginia.

Severe winter weather can bring down power lines, and customers should immediately report downed wires to their electric company, local police or fire department.  Customers should never go near a downed power line, even if they think it is no longer carrying electricity.

As a result of the weather, FirstEnergy utilities have implemented the company's storm preparation process, including calling in extra line crews and securing commitments from contractor crews to deploy as needed.  FirstEnergy crews and support personnel will remain in their respective utility company service areas until the full impact of the storm is known.                

Company personnel have participated in conference calls with the mutual assistance groups including the New York Mutual Assistance Group and the Southeastern Electric Exchange to determine the availability of outside utility crews should large-scale outages occur.

FirstEnergy customer call centers are fully staffed.  Customers who are without power are encouraged to call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report their outage or click the "Report Outage" link on www.firstenergycorp.com via a mobile device.

Customers are encouraged to prepare for the possibility of outages caused by winter storms:

  • Keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy.  Use care when burning candles; open flames are a fire hazard.
  • Gather extra blankets or a sleeping bag for each person. Do not use gas stoves, kerosene heaters or other open-flame heat sources to prevent deadly carbon monoxide gas from building up in your home.
  • 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 smart phone, this will ensure you have access to online information sources. 

For updated information on the company's storm preparation efforts, current outages, FirstEnergy's storm restoration process and tips for staying safe, customers are urged to visit the 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages.  The operating companies also will provide updates via Twitter:

FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence.  Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia.  Its generation subsidiaries control more than 20,000 megawatts of capacity from a diversified mix of scrubbed coal, non-emitting nuclear, natural gas, pumped-storage hydro and other renewables.  Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.

SOURCE FirstEnergy

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