Why does it sometimes take days to restore power following a storm?
Storms come in all shapes and sizes, but for the ones that pack a serious punch, like Tropical Storm Isaias, they can cause widespread devastation. Major storms can down trees and damage electric equipment, causing thousands of power outages. In some situations, we may need to remove trees and install several new poles, transformers, or wires, which requires multiple crews and can take several hours. With a large, destructive storm, those challenges are multiplied and can result in hundreds of different jobs to restore service to customers.
Does COVID-19 slow down your restoration process?
No. We are actively taking steps to ensure the health and safety of our employees and customers, by complying with CDC and PA Department of Health guidelines. However, this has not impacted our ability to respond to outages caused by storms. Crew members are wearing proper protective equipment such as masks and gloves when working near coworkers or customers and are complying with social distancing guidelines. We have adjusted shifts schedules and reporting locations to ensure we still provide customers with the same level of support, while actively keeping our employees safe.
Why do the restoration estimates move around?
We know our customers are relying on power restoration estimates to plan their schedules. We work to provide the best estimate we can when we initially assess the damage related to an outage. However, as repairs are made and any new damage is identified, we work to update the restoration times to be as accurate as possible.
Why don’t you bring others to assist with restoration efforts?
We are a part of several regional mutual assistance organizations, which provides us with a network of electric utility workers from across the country that we can call on for additional field resources from outside of our region. Through this network and our Exelon sister utilities BGE, ComEd, and PHI, we can bring in hundreds of additional utility workers to help us restore service to our customers.
Can I put in a claim for food I lost during the power outage?
We understand how frustrating it can be to lose refrigerated items, especially right now during stay-at-home orders. Claims can only be processed for damage when it is determined that there is something PECO could have done to prevent the issue. While storms are not typically covered by the claims process, you can file a claim by downloading the form here. It may be worthwhile to check with your insurance provider to see if this is covered as well.
Are old equipment and poles the reason outage restoration can take so long?
No. We work continuously to invest in and maintain our electric and natural gas systems to serve our customers. To do this, we’ll be investing more than $6 billion during the next five years to maintain and modernize our systems and equipment to help prevent outages and enhance service to all customers in our region.
Are down wires safe to touch?
Absolutely not. It is never safe to touch any type of wire or anything that may be in contact with a wire, including tree branches or other types of equipment. Even if the power in your area is out, there is potential that they could still be live wires. We recommend to stay 10 feet away from wires that are down and call 1-800-841-4141 or visit our report an outage page to report any downed or sparking wires.
Why do crews stand around and look at the damage, but not fix it?
Before our crews can start work on any storm damage, there are specific steps that need to be taken to ensure we can safely perform our work. This may include shutting off power to a specific area. Once our crews receive the proper notifications, work can begin. Safety is our number one priority for our employees and our customers.
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