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Power crews prepare for possible outages throughout region

By: Lauren Hensley

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Workers with First Energy, the parent company of West Penn Power, are preparing for power outages ahead of the incoming snow and ice storm. Crews are being mobilized all across Pennsylvania.

As of Monday evening there were very few power outages, according to the West Penn Power outage map on the company's website. But according to experts, that could all change within the next 24 hours. The ice in the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday could mean major power outages all throughout the region.

"Our power lines are built and designed to withstand about a half-inch of ice," Scott Surgeoner, a spokesman with Energy First, said. "Some forecasts, you know, later on Tuesday into Wednesday indicate that we could see a half-inch of ice or more."

To ensure the best possible response time power crews are planning ahead and coming to central Pennsylvania from neighboring states.

"We will begin to look at the forecast and what they are predicting, and we will move some personnel from possibly places like Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland or New Jersey into those areas that may be impacted by the ice," Surgeoner said. "The other thing we do is alert each of the people that are in the territory that will be impacted by the ice and let them know they will be working extended shifts."

So what if there is a power outage? Surgeoner said call your power company immediately, do not assume someone else has already made that call. He also said to plan ahead before the storm and stock up on a case of water, food, flashlights and batteries.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times