Thousands deal with power outages on top of ice, snow

Thousands of residents in our viewing area are currently without electricity, and crews are fighting the elements to restore service.

Met-Ed has called in crews from as far away as Ohio to help restore electricity in Berks County.

PPL said some of its customers in Lancaster County should expect to be without power until Saturday, although the utility said it expects to have 90 percent back online by Friday.

As of 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, the following number of customers were reported to be without electricity:

Bucks County: 124,642
Chester County: 154,664
Delaware County: 51,571
Montgomery County: 174,187
Philadelphia County: 20,456

Met Ed:
Berks County: 2,696
Bucks County: 89
Chester County: 1,094
Lancaster County: 369
Lebanon County: 2,008
Montgomery County: 95
Northampton County: Fewer than 5

Berks County: 970
Bucks County: 1,853
Chester County: 1,805
Lancaster County: 26,038
Lehigh County: 35
Montgomery County: 116

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has tips for residents who may lose electricity:

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 will 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

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Historical Averages

High Low
Current 69°F 43°F
Average 63°F 40°F
Record 89°F April 23, 1960 28°F April 23, 1936