Power restored to 99 percent of Peco customers

On Waynesborough Road in Paoli, lineman Jim O'Hara from Foley Electric of Brick, N.J., replaces a transformer. Crews are continuing to work through the cold nights, some pulling 16-hour shifts, Peco said.
On Waynesborough Road in Paoli, lineman Jim O'Hara from Foley Electric of Brick, N.J., replaces a transformer. Crews are continuing to work through the cold nights, some pulling 16-hour shifts, Peco said. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer)
Posted: February 12, 2014

Update 9:30 a.m. Tuesday: Peco reports 1,800 customers still without power, half in Chester County.

Earlier Story

About 99 percent.

After days of round-the-clock work, that was how close repair crews had come late Monday to restoring all 715,000 Peco customers who lost power during or after last week's storm.

That still meant more than 5,600 customers were waiting for the lights to come on for the first time in many days.

"We know it's tough for our customers, but this is a version of Hurricane Sandy," Peco spokesman Ben Armstrong said, warning that some people might endure another day in the dark. "Unfortunately, it's also not the same weather that we had after that storm."

Chester County remained the hardest-hit region, but also was getting much of the attention.

By evening, about 3 percent of the homes and businesses in Malvern still had no power, down from 30 percent earlier in the day.

Overall, about 45 percent of Peco's 1.6 million customers went without power at some point since Wednesday's ice storm. Workers have come from across the country to help, with crews from New Jersey's PSE&G joining the effort.

Crews are continuing to work through the cold nights, with some pulling 16-hour shifts, Armstrong said. With service restored in many of the region's most heavily populated areas, they are now restoring power for smaller numbers of customers, he said.

In one stretch of Yellow Springs Road in Malvern, where 20 poles came down in the storm, dozens of workers had been working for more than two days to rebuild the system. The area has fewer than 100 customers, Armstrong said.

"This is the type of damage we're dealing with," he said. "It's significant."

Peco also invited customers to public forums at several locations in Bucks, Chester and Montgomery Counties. Over the course of three days, 1,423 people visited to ask questions, Armstrong said.

Monday's light snow slowed travel times for crews, but otherwise did not hamper efforts. Armstrong said Peco was bracing for the possibility of more snow this week and hoping to have power restored for all customers before the next storm hits.

"We're watching this closely," he said.

Roland Watson, who lives in Malvern with his wife and dog, got his first piece of encouraging news since the lights and heat went out in their home Wednesday: Peco told him Monday that a crew had been assigned to their project.

"I was pretty pleased to hear that after five days," he said. "So we're hoping that the power will come on at some point."

The storm took down five huge trees on Sugartown Road, where he lives, and Sunday, he and his wife watched a team of workers clear the road of timber and brush.

Still, hours passed with no sight of a utility truck, he said. By evening, as the rest of the town was restored, he and his wife still waited for power.

They have been using their cast-iron stove to heat the house, Wilson said, and sleeping under layers of sleeping bags and blankets. But the nights are getting progressively colder.

They planned to sleep by the stove, he said, if the power wasn't restored by bedtime.


asteele@phillynews.com

610-313-8113 @AESteele

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|