PPL Says 600 More Workers Added to Storm Restoration Force

PPL adds hundreds more workers to Lehigh Valley crews to try to restore all power by 11 p.m. Sunday.

PPL Electric Utilities says it is pouring more manpower into eastern Pennsylvania for a final push this weekend to repair the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy.

Approximately 600 additional line workers, now finished working in other areas of the PPL Electric Utilities service territory, arrived Friday and Saturday to supplement the existing army of repair crews. The additional crews bring the total work force in the eastern part of the state to 2,500.

While power is now restored to more than 85 percent of the PPL Electric Utilities customers affected by the massive storm, the utility’s commitment to getting the lights back on as safely and as quickly as possible until the last customer is restored will not waver.

“We continue to pull in crews that are finished in other areas we serve. To use a basketball term, this continues to be a full-court press,” said Dave Bonenberger, vice president of Distribution Operations for PPL Electric Utilities. “There is no letup in our efforts. For those who remain out of service, we ask for their continued understanding. This is an immense, time-consuming, labor-intensive effort.”

More than 382,000 customers have had service restored since Sandy hit Monday.

About 58,000 customers remained out of service across the utility’s 10,000-square-mile service territory as of 10 a.m. Saturday. About 28,000 of those are in the Lehigh Valley, 11,000 in the areas of Bucks and Montgomery counties served by the utility, and about 18,000 in the Poconos and other areas of northeast Pennsylvania.

The goal remains to get the lights back on for all remaining affected customers by 11 p.m. Sunday, though it is possible that small pockets of outages in places where crews are confronted with extensive work to remove trees and rebuild power lines could remain into Monday or Tuesday.

“The damage to our equipment in some places is severe. Crews are sometimes uncovering even more destruction when they arrive at trouble locations,” Bonenberger said.

Utility officials note that in these final days of power restoration, the number of customers restored by each repair job typically is smaller because the remaining damage spots affect very small pockets of customers, sometimes even a single customer. Bringing in hundreds of extra linemen will help the pace of that effort.

Utility workers from at least 10 different states, including PPL Electric Utilities’ sister utilities in Kentucky, are supporting storm damage restoration. Overall, about 6,000 people are supporting the restoration efforts, including about 3,500 in the field. The size of the field work force is the largest ever for PPL Electric Utilities for a storm, more than triple the existing PPL Electric Utilities’ normal physical work force. 

Any customer who wants a restoration update can call 1-800-DIAL-PPL (1-800-342-5775) or check pplelectric.com. If an updated restoration time is available for that customer, it will be on the automated phone system or on the web. The utility’s outage web site is adapted for mobile phones. 

Information on what the utility is doing to restore power, including a list of locations where customers can obtain free ice and water, can be found at www.pplelectric.com

Customers are reminded to continue to stay safe, including avoiding downed lines and using portable generators. Safety information for customers is available at the company’s website, www.pplelectric.com.

Mary Anne Looby November 04, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Thanks so much to all the hard working linemen, our power was restored today at 5:37PM! I'm going to play that number for a long time!!! It was a long week for us, but still longer and harder for you. Thanks again!
Josh Popichak November 04, 2012 at 12:33 AM
I'm so happy to hear that! Great news!
Chris November 04, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Got power back on last night around 6 but in that photo and around springhill road there is alot of wood all near the road seems like everywhere I go to do stuff there is roads blocked stuff laying on the road power lines down wow this is 100% a really big mess
Mark Jamison November 04, 2012 at 06:16 PM
What a bunch of crap! Southern crews stood around Thursday and Friday on Kings Highway and then just disappeared leavingus sitting in the dark. Just did a tour of Lower Milford, one of the hardest hit areas, and nothing! No power, no trucks, no crews, no way to find out anything or contact PPL. Just the stupid outage report that moves the day up, day after day. Total disorganized crap! I can see my neighbors lights but mine.
Mark Jamison November 04, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Outage Status:  The reason for your outage is tree limbs have fallen on our wires. A work crew estimates power to most customers in your area should be restored by 7:30 AM on 11/05/2012. This repair estimate is based on the latest information available and could change if repairs are more difficult than anticipated. Thank you for your patience. YEAH .....THEY FELL ON THE WIRES ON MONDAY!!! SINCE THEN THERE' S BEEN SEVENTEEN "ASSESMENT" PERSONAL STOPPING BY TO LOOK AT THEM! SOMEBODY PICK UP A DAMN CHAINSAW AND DO SOMETHING. SIX DAYS IS ENOUGH!!!!


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