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National News / Weather

Monday, 29 August, 2011 1:53 AM

Jersey Central Power & Light Restores Service to 157,000 Customers Affected by Hurricane Irene

Photo credit: AP/PRNewsire

Large sections of a golf course is flooded by Hurricane Irene in southern N.J. , Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011.

 

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MORRISTOWN, N.J. -- Electrical service to approximately 157,000 customers of Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L), a FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) utility, has been restored following Hurricane Irene.

Company personnel continue working to restore service to another 431,000 customers who remain without power as a result of the storm, which has caused considerable flooding and tree damage throughout northern and central New Jersey. Reports of downed power lines in more than 6,000 locations have been received. Many customers will be restored in the next several days. In areas with extensive flooding and wind related damage, restoration is expected to continue throughout the week.

To efficiently and safely restore service to storm-impacted JCP&L customers, FirstEnergy has more than 1,200 employees from JCP&L, Pennsylvania Electric Company, Pennsylvania Power, Ohio Edison, Toledo Edison, Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, West Penn Power, Mon Power and Potomac Edison. Another 300 lineworkers and support personnel are being deployed to the area today and tomorrow.

Throughout the storm restoration process, company representatives will be working closely with local, state and federal emergency management officials and state utility regulators.

"Our hazard and line crews have been addressing power outages since the hurricane first hit, and lineworkers, vehicles and supplies from other FirstEnergy utilities have provided immediate support that will aid us throughout the restoration process," said JCP&L President Donald M. Lynch. "While we are making progress with restoration, we are also still assessing damage and developing work plans for timely, efficient and safe repairs to restore all customers. Access to some areas remains limited by debris from downed trees and limbs and heavy flooding, and the safety of our workers and the public is a top priority while we work to restore service. Widespread damage in the aftermath of a major storm can take days to repair, and we ask for customers to remain patient as we work to restore power.

"Our top priority remains keeping our customers and employees safe as we return power to service," Lynch added. "Downed wires should be reported immediately to JCP&L or local police or fire departments."

FirstEnergy customer call centers are fully staffed, with additional representatives available in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia if needed. JCP&L customers should call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877), or 1-800-545-7738.

As debris from the storm is being cleared, customers are cautioned never to touch downed lines. Customers should always assume downed wires are carrying electricity and are reminded to keep their children and pets away from downed wires. Customers should never try to remove trees or limbs from power lines because they could conduct electricity. They should wait for emergency services or utility crews to arrive.

Tips for customers without power:

  • Call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report your outage – it's the fastest way to begin the restoration process.
  • Avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer. A full freezer can keep food frozen for up to three days if it's kept closed.
  • Keep flashlights with fresh batteries in your home.
  • Unplug major appliances until after the power has been restored. Keep one light connected so you will know when the power is back on.
  • Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
  • Burning candles should never be left unattended in a house.
  • Gasoline-powered generators should never be operated inside a home or attached garage.
  • Make sure you have fresh batteries in a portable radio so you can stay tuned to your local radio station for updates on our progress to restore power.

JCP&L serves 1.1 million customers in 13 New Jersey counties.

For updated information on hurricane restoration news, current outages, FirstEnergy's storm restoration process and tips for staying safe after a storm, go to www.firstenergycorp.com.

FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its ten electric distribution companies comprise the nation's largest investor-owned electric system. Its diverse generating fleet features non-emitting nuclear, scrubbed baseload coal, natural gas, and pumped-storage hydro and other renewables, and has a total generating capacity of approximately 23,000 megawatts.

Source: FirstEnergy Corp.

 

United and Continental to Resume Flights at Noon Monday at New York Airports

Change flights at united.com or continental.com for no fee

CHICAGO -- United Airlines and Continental Airlines are preparing to resume flight departures at noon Monday, Aug. 29, at its hub at Newark Liberty International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, following the carriers' suspension of operations Saturday and Sunday due to Hurricane Irene.

United and Continental employees from other domestic locations will fly to New York to assist their co-workers in resuming operations at area airports.

In addition, United and Continental will resume service Monday that had been suspended Sunday at several other airports along the East Coast, including White Plains, N.Y., Boston, Mass., Hartford, Conn., Providence, R.I., Portland, Maine, Manchester, N.H., and Albany, N.Y. The airlines provide the latest flight information and operations summary at united.com and continental.com.

Flight Cancellations

United and Continental canceled 2,265 flights August 27 and August 28 and pre-canceled an additional 437 flights for August 29, due to Hurricane Irene. The aftermath of Hurricane Irene may force some additional delays and cancellations of scheduled flights to the region on Monday. United and Continental encourage customers to check their specific flight status at the carriers' respective websites prior to heading to the airport.

Checking Flight Status and Changing Travel Plans

Customers on flights to, from or through the affected areas through August 30, may reschedule their itinerary with a one-time date or time change, and airlines will waive the change fees. Customers may request a refund in the original form of payment for canceled flights. Complete details and eligible travel dates are available at united.com and continental.com.

The fastest and most convenient way to change travel plans is via united.com or continental.com. Customers should continue to manage their reservations on the respective carrier's website from which they purchased their ticket. Customers may also book a new reservation, change an existing reservation or check flight status by calling United Reservations at 800-UNITED-1 or Continental Reservations at 800-525-0280 or their travel agent.

About United Continental Holdings, Inc.

United Continental Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: UAL) is the holding company for both United Airlines and Continental Airlines. Together with United Express, Continental Express and Continental Connection, these airlines operate an average of 5,765 flights a day to 377 airports on six continents from their hubs in Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Guam, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark Liberty, San Francisco, Tokyo and Washington, D.C. United and Continental are members of Star Alliance, which offers more than 21,200 daily flights to 1,185 airports in 185 countries. United and Continental's more than 80,000 employees reside in every U.S. state and in many countries around the world. For more information about United Continental Holdings, Inc., go to UnitedContinentalHoldings.com. For more information about the airlines, see united.com and continental.com or follow on Twitter and Facebook.

Source: United Continental Holdings, Inc.

 

Survival Tips After a Hurricane Strikes

CPSC and USFA Warn About Deadly Dangers That Can Linger After Hurricane Irene Passes

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) are warning residents in hurricane-impacted areas about the deadly dangers that can remain even after Hurricane Irene strikes.

Consumers need to be especially careful during a loss of electrical power, as the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and fire increases at that time.

In order to power lights, to keep food cold or to cook, consumers often use gas-powered generators. CPSC and USFA warn consumers NEVER to use portable generators indoors or in garages, basements or sheds. The exhaust from generators contains high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) that can quickly incapacitate and kill.

"Don't create your own disaster in the aftermath of a storm," said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "Never run a generator in or right next to a home. Carbon monoxide is an invisible killer. CO is odorless and colorless and it can kill you and your family in minutes."

From 1999-2010, nearly 600 generator-related CO deaths have been reported to CPSC. CPSC is aware of an annual average of 81 deaths due to carbon monoxide poisoning from generators in recent years. The majority of the deaths occurred as a result of using a generator inside a home's living space, in the basement or in the garage.

"We know from experience as victims try to recover from disasters, they will take unnecessary risks with candles, cooking and generators. These risks often result in additional and tragic life safety consequences," said Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator Glenn A. Gaines. "When you consider the challenges faced by firefighters and their departments to also recover from the same disasters, it is important that all of us remember even the simplest of fire safety behaviors following disasters of any type."

Do not put your family at risk. Follow these important safety tips from CPSC and USFA in the aftermath of a storm.

Portable Generators
Never use a generator inside a home, basement, shed or garage even if doors and windows are open. Keep generators outside and far away from windows, doors and vents. Read both the label on your generator and the owner's manual and follow the instructions. Any electrical cables you use with the generator should be free of damage and suitable for outdoor use.

Charcoal Grills and Camp Stoves
Never use charcoal grills or camp stoves indoors. Burning charcoal or a camp stove in an enclosed space can produce lethal levels of carbon monoxide. There were at least seven CO-related deaths from charcoal or charcoal grills in 2007.

CO Alarms
Install carbon monoxide alarms immediately outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home to protect against CO poisoning. Change the alarms' batteries every year.

Electrical and Gas Safety
Stay away from any downed wires, including cable TV feeds. They may be live with deadly voltage. If you are standing in water, do not handle or operate electrical appliances. Electrical components, including circuit breakers, wiring in the walls and outlets that have been under water should not be turned on. They should be replaced unless properly inspected and tested by a qualified electrician.

Natural gas or propane valves that have been under water should be replaced. Smell and listen for leaky gas connections. If you believe there is a gas leak, immediately leave the house and leave the door(s) open. Never strike a match. Any size flame can spark an explosion. Before turning the gas back on, have the gas system checked by a professional.

Candles
Use caution with candles. If possible, use flashlights instead. If you must use candles, do not burn them on or near anything that can catch fire. Never leave burning candles unattended. Extinguish candles when you leave the room.

Consumers, fire departments and state and local health and safety agencies can download CPSC's generator safety posters, door hangers and CO safety publications at CPSC's CO Information Center or order free copies by contacting CPSC's Hotline at (800) 638-2772. Download USFA's publications on disasters and fire safety and other safety issues at www.usfa.dhs.gov.

Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

 

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