Wind/Rain Storm Update
June 5, 2020
PHILADELPHIA, June 05, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Two severe storms with damaging wind and heavy rain moved through the region on Wednesday. Some parts of the region experienced wind gusts of up to 70 mph. This severe weather brought down trees and tree branches, causing damage to electric equipment and impacting service for our customers. In addition, the region is bracing for another round of potentially severe storms on Thursday. PECO’s Emergency Response Organization is activated, with crews working as quickly and safely as possible to restore service to customers. In addition to this weather, the nation continues to face the COVID-19 pandemic that is increasing customer reliance on energy service as they work from home, take care of their families and educate their children, making the need for reliable energy even more important. PECO is actively working to restore service to customers, while also ensuring the health and safety of employees and customers.
- As of 5:00 a.m. on Friday, approximately 88,000 customers are without service.
- Bucks County = 8,000
- Chester County = 24,000
- Delaware County = 8,000
- Montgomery County = 38,000
- Philadelphia County = 9,000
- York County = Scattered
- Since the storms have progressed through the region, PECO’s crews have restored service to 475,000 customers across the service territory.
What are we doing?
- Two severe storms with damaging wind and heavy rain moved through the region on Wednesday. Some parts of the region experienced wind gusts of up to 70 mph. This severe weather left downed trees and tree limbs and caused extensive damage to utility poles and electric equipment. In addition, the region is bracing for another round of potentially severe storms on Thursday.
- Because of this damage, as of 5:00 a.m. on Friday, approximately 88,000 PECO customers are currently without electric service.
- Since the storm began on Wednesday morning, more than 475,000 customers have been restored.
- At the height of the storm approximately 335,000 customers were impacted at one time.
- PECO’s Emergency Response Organization is activated, and all available field personnel are responding to outages to safely restore service to our customers.
- Crews are currently working to assess damage and make repairs to restore service to the greatest number of customers as quickly as possible.
- For the safety of our crews, if they experience sustained winds of 30 mph or higher, work that requires raising a bucket will be interrupted until it is safe for the crews to continue.
- Enhanced back-office staffing is also in place to support restoration efforts.
- When storms and extreme weather hit, PECO is prepared and dedicated to safely restoring service to our customers as quickly as possible. PECO personnel work around the clock until every last customer is restored.
- We have taken the appropriate steps to prepare for and respond to this severe weather, while also ensuring the health and safety of employees and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- As a provider of critical infrastructure that powers millions of families and businesses, PECO has robust plans to ensure we are able to provide safe and reliable energy for customers, including during public health events.
- We’re also working to secure additional assistance from outside the region to support storm restoration efforts, including crews from our Exelon sister utilities Baltimore Gas & Electric, ComEd, and PHI. We anticipate approximately 2,200 additional field employees and contractors to be available to support restoration efforts.
- We know that our customers are counting on us to deliver on this commitment, and we’ve been working hard to prepare our system prior to storms and summer heat to help prevent outages and respond quickly to outages that cannot be prevented.
- This includes preventive equipment maintenance, tree trimming and system enhancements.
Estimated Time of Restoration (ETR) Updates
- We are currently working to assess the damage and the extent of repairs necessary to restore service to all customers.
- Given the extent of damage, crews will be working through the next several days to restore power to all customers impacted by these severe storms.
- Estimated restoration times will be provided as crews assess the damage for individual outages.
- This estimate can change based on restoration progress and the extent of damage our crews find.
- We anticipate that we will restore more than 90% of our customers by late Friday evening.
- Unfortunately, an internal, system error provided some customers with an inaccurate estimated restoration time for period of time on Thursday evening.
- As of early Friday morning, the error has been rectified, and the correct estimated restoration times are now being provided.
- In some cases, restoration times may continue into the weekend due to the size of the outage or in areas of extreme damage where a significant amount of work is required to restore service.
What do we want customers to know/do?
We understand that the stay-at-home orders and health crisis we are facing has increased our customers’ reliance on the essential energy service we provide as they work from home, take care of their families and educate their children.
- We are working hard to maintain reliable service and respond to outages as quickly as possible, as we know service interruptions due to a storm can add additional stress during these challenging times.
- While we are committed to restoring service safely and as quickly as possible for all customers, we have a heightened focus on restoring service first for hospitals, nursing homes, and other critical facilities.
- This follows our normal restoration process during a storm, which prioritizes addressing life-threatening, safety and health situations, including critical customers such as hospitals, nursing homes, and fire and police facilities. We then work to repair equipment that will restore power to the greatest number of customers first.
- If the storm causes damage to PECO’s equipment:
- Always stay away from any storm damaged electrical equipment, especially downed power lines and tree limbs that may come into contact with power lines.
- Don’t connect your generator directly to your home’s wiring. Never use a generator indoors or in an attached garage. Read and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation.
- Customers experiencing any issues with their electric or natural gas service should contact PECO at 1-800-841-4141.
- Yesterday, we were experiencing issues with our online outage reporting tools. Those issues were resolved last night, and those online tools are now functioning properly.
- Please note, the issues we were experiencing with our outage reporting tools did not impact our restoration process.
- Customers also can easily report issues with their electric service at peco.com/outages using their phone, tablet or computer or through PECO’s free mobile app.
- Download PECO’s free mobile app to report outages and receive notifications on restoration status. The PECO mobile app is available through the App Store or Google Play.
- Visit peco.com/alerts to choose how to receive information – via text, email or phone – including when power is out in your area, when your service is expected to be restored, or when your power is restored.
- PECO also has a two-way texting program for outages. By texting “ADDOUTAGE” to MYPECO (697326), customers can enroll in the program, report outages and check the status of their outage through text messaging. To use this service a customer’s mobile number must be registered with their account.
- Customers can find additional information at peco.com/storm. Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/pecoconnect and on Twitter at twitter.com/pecoconnect.
How are we protecting the health and safety of our crews and customers while responding to outages in the community?
- Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our employees, contractors and customers.
- Since the pandemic began, PECO has been following CDC guidance and taking proactive steps to ensure the safety of our people and customers.
- We’re also fully complying with the PA Department of Health’s April 15 Order Directing Public Health Safety Measures for Businesses Permitted to Maintain In-Person Operations, which directs employees to wear face coverings while at work.
- There are instances where employees may be working alone and have no risk of interacting with customers or co-workers (alone in an elevated bucket) where a mask may not be worn, or where wearing a mask makes it unsafe to complete a task.
- We have arranged for as many of our employees as possible to work remotely and are maximizing social distancing for the employees who must continue to report to their locations.
- We have adjusted shift schedules and reporting locations to enable employees to work at different hours of the day to allow for further social distancing and eliminate points of congregation, more than doubling the number of reporting locations, increasing our ability to social distance and perform work safely.
- Our field employees who are doing essential work to provide safe and reliable energy service for our customers are taking additional precautions to ensure their safety and the safety of our customers.
- Our crews are practicing social distancing
- When coming into contact with a customer, crews must attempt to keep a distance of six feet from the nearest person while working and avoid congregating in any common areas.
- Employees are wearing face masks and gloves while working in many locations as a precaution to protect themselves and our customers.
- We are providing sanitizer, wipes and gel to crews and employees.
- We have implemented enhanced cleaning procedures across all of our facilities.
- Our workforce is being reminded to wash their hands, avoid touching their face and maximize social distancing whether offsite or at any of our locations.
- To ensure the safety of our employees and customers while restoration work is being completed, we ask customers to please practice social distancing with our crews, as they work to restore service in your area.