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Deep Freeze

West Penn Power is urging its customers to prepare for sustained sub-zero temperatures and wind chills that are expected to impact our service territory today and tomorrow. As a result of the weather forecast, the company has activated its storm preparation process. All West Penn Power crews and support personnel are prepared to work around-the-clock, as needed, to restore service should weather related outages occur.

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. 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. West Penn Power also will provide updates via Twitter at their twitter address: @W_Penn_Power.

FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) is urging its customers to begin preparations this weekend for sustained sub-zero temperatures and wind chills that are expected to impact its service territory beginning Monday and Tuesday.

Some common-sense cold weather tips include: • Make sure your home is properly insulated to preserve heat. Inspect doors and windows and apply caulk or weather-stripping where necessary to keep cold air out. Close drapes, blinds and garage doors to retain heat and keep cold air out. • Keep extra blankets or sleeping bags for each person inside your home. Dress in layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. • Use a sturdy fireplace screen when utilizing a fireplace or wood burning stove. • Never use a gas stove, charcoal grill or lantern intended for outdoor use inside your home as deadly carbon monoxide gas could build up. • Maintain a three-day supply of water and non-perishable food. Convenience foods that do not require cooking are good to have on hand. • Avoid frozen pipes by opening faucets and maintaining a constant drip, or wrap pipes in insulation or layers of newspapers. • Use care when burning candles, especially around children or pets; open flames are a dangerous fire hazard. • Charge electronic devices such as cell phones, laptops and tablet computers. • Keep a flashlight, portable radio and extra batteries handy in the event a power interruption occurs. • Never use a portable generator inside the house or a closed garage in the event of a power outage. Ensure the proper generator is selected and installed by a qualified electrician. When operating a generator, the power coming into the home should always be disconnected. Otherwise, power from the generator could be sent back onto the utility lines, creating a hazardous situation for utility workers.

See below for more important tips for customers on preparing for severe weather, what to do if power is lost, and information on how West Penn Power's storm process works.

Be prepared for a power outage:

Program 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) into your cell phone so that you can easily report a power outage should one occur. Make sure that your cell phone is registered with your West Penn Power account so that when you call in a power outage, your account information is automatically recognized. To register call 1-800-686-0021 or on-line at https://www.firstenergycorp.com/log_in.html. Bookmark West Penn Power’s MOBILE outage page on your smart phone at http://outages.firstenergycorp.com/pa_m.html so that outage updates are readily available. Follow West Penn Power on Twitter @W_Penn_Power. I If you have a smart phone, download the West Penn Power app to report power outages, view outages, etc. Be prepared to be without power for 7-10 days. Keep flashlights, extra batteries, battery powered radio, bottled water, non-perishable food, etc. readily available. If you have well water, fill your bathtub with water in advance of a storm. For additional information, go to https://www.firstenergycorp.com/content/customer/help/outages.html.

What to do if you lose power:

If only your lights are out, check your circuit breakers/fuses. If your neighbors’ lights are out, call 1-888-LIGHTSS (888-544-4877) and follow the recorded prompts. Note that West Penn Power does not know when you power is out. Call in your outage, even if a neighbor has called. Our computer systems use these calls to help pinpoint the problem which could mean a faster restoration time. If the phone number that you are calling from is registered with your account, the phone system will associate the call with that address. Customers can request "call backs." The automated system will call the customer letting them know when we believe that the power is back on. This allows the customer to let us know if you are still without power. Stay away from downed power lines and anything touching them! If you see a wire down, call 1-888-LIGHTSS or 911.

Restoration Updates:

For updates on power outages, view West Penn Power’s outage page on your smart phone at http://outages.firstenergycorp.com/pa_m.html or on the web at http://outages.firstenergycorp.com/pa.html. The map works really well on smart phones. In addition to the maps, you can get a tabular/summary report by County (touch the icon that looks like a piece of paper located on the upper right of the screen) which allows you to drill down to municipalities. Monitor Twitter updates @W_Penn_Power. ETRs (estimated time of restoration) may not be available early on in a storm. If the storm is wide spread, it could take a day to assess the damage. Emergency Responders: If we are in storm mode, ETA's (estimated time of arrival) will not be given UNLESS it is a Life and Limb situation. I will be working with the County EMA's to determine public safety priorities across a County. In a major storm, West Penn Power often makes temporary repairs (cutting a wire, opening a circuit, replacing a fuse) to make an area safe and restore as many customers on that circuit as possible before returning to complete the work. If our crews leave your area to make temporary repairs elsewhere, we will return to complete the work. In a major storm, the electrical system is often damaged in thousands of locations. More than one repair may be needed to restore your service. Once we believe your power is back on, West Penn Power may call you. This is your chance to let us know if you are still without power. Backup generators can provide an emergency power supply, enabling you to keep important equipment running during a power outage. But for your safety and the safety of our crews, please be sure to use a generator properly and safely. For additional information, go to https://www.firstenergycorp.com/content/customer/help/outages/what_to_do_if_youlosepower/using_backup_generators.html.

Site by Michael D. McCumber (Connellsville, PA Pictures