September is National Preparedness Month, and amid an active storm season, we encourage you to plan ahead so you’re ready if an emergency strikes.
“This year, we have already experienced 36 storms across the regions we serve,” said Sal Salet, vice president of Distribution Operations. “While we continually maintain and upgrade our grid to better withstand more severe storms, we recommend all of our customers plan ahead to be ready for any emergency.”
Here are a few steps to get you started:
- Make a plan: Develop an emergency plan including everyone in your household so you’ll know how and where to meet, how you’ll contact each other and what to do in different situations.
- Be prepared: Prepare an emergency kit, including non-perishable food, water, medication, first aid supplies and any pet supplies you may need. Also include batteries and battery-operated flashlights. Store your emergency kit in one location that’s easy for everyone to find and preferably in an air-tight container.
- Stay Informed: We use several ways to communicate before storms and during emergencies. One way to stay informed is through alerts. Sign into your online account and adjust your alert preferences at pplelectric.com/alerts. You can choose to receive a phone call, email, or text message for status updates about an outage. For more tips on reporting outages and staying safe during a storm, visit pplelectric.com/outage.
We also take storm-prep very seriously and constantly prepare for emergencies. Here are a few things we do to prevent outages:
- Ongoing investments: Throughout the year, we make key investments to strengthen our electric system to be more resilient against severe weather. This work includes investments in grid automation, comprehensive line clearing and enhancements to power lines, poles, and other equipment. Since 2015, our smart grid technology alone has avoided more than 1.7 million outages.
- Training and safety measures: Our teams are constantly training on storm-response techniques and practicing how we respond and dispatch crews. Leading up to severe weather, our team monitors the weather and its impact across surrounding regions so we already have crews ready to respond when the storm hits.
- Mutual response: We maintain mutual assistance relationships that provide access to critical resources and hundreds of crews in 29 states and four provinces in Canada when mobilizing for potential large-scale restoration efforts.
“Our customers are always top priority,” said Salet. “That remains true whether we are restoring power after a storm or planning investments to our grid.”
Don’t wait for a storm to hit. Use National Preparedness Month as a reminder to make a plan, create a kit and be prepared for any type of emergency. Stay safe!
September is recognized annually as National Preparedness Month—an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies.
What’s more, for the third year in a row, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting an above-average hurricane season in the Atlantic.
Pennsylvania doesn’t have a coastline, but we can still be impacted by hurricanes, tropical storms and other bouts of severe weather. We want you to know that when mother nature lashes out, we’re ready to respond to power outages as safely and quickly as possible, around the clock, to get the lights back on.
Not only are we prepared to respond to outages, we’ve taken steps to help avoid them altogether, despite the weather.
The investments we’ve made in our electric grid have made it more reliable than ever, even during extreme weather. Sensors on our smart grid identify outages quickly and can automatically reroute power to get as many customers back up and running as possible, often in seconds. In fact, since 2015, our advanced grid has helped prevent more than 1.4 million customer outages.
Like we always say: The best outage is an outage that never happens in the first place.
Smart grid devices are just one part of our investments to continuously improve the reliability of your electric service. Other work includes new power lines and substations; stronger, more storm-resistant poles; and trimming more trees. Find out more about the ways we’re strengthening the electric delivery system to meet your expectations for safe, reliable service at pplelectric.com/reliability.
Be prepared. Stay informed.
Have you managed your alerts recently? We’ve made it easier than ever for you to stay informed during severe weather with our automated alerts. You can receive information regarding outages, repair crew status and estimated restoration times, all via text message, phone or email. Pick your preferences at pplelectric.com/alerts. And remember that you can report or check on an outage at pplelectric.com/outage.
Plus, we use social media to provide storm updates and share tips on how to stay safe before, during and after storms. Follow us @PPLElectric for all the latest news and updates.
No matter what kind of weather passes through our region, we’ll be prepared.
Here’s how you can stay safe and prepare for all types of storms:
- Regularly check local news, radio, or your mobile device for information about storm watches or warnings in your area.
- Keep supplies in an emergency preparedness kit. Include water bottles, non-perishable food, blankets, first-aid supplies, flashlights, and a battery-powered radio.
- Make sure your yard is free of heavy debris that could be tossed around in the wind. Trim trees to prevent limbs from falling on your house.
Tornadoes are capable of destroying homes, uprooting trees, and hurling objects through the air.
- Choose a safe area in your home where you and your family can gather if a tornado warning is issued. This area should be in the basement or a room with no windows and on the lowest level of your home.
- Conduct routine tornado drills with the entire family so everyone knows where to go and what to do if a tornado is approaching.
- Watch for signs of a tornado: a dark-colored sky, low-lying clouds, large hail, or a loud roar.
Hurricanes are violent storms that often cause property damage and life-threatening hazards, such as high winds and flooding.
- Create an evacuation plan and practice it ahead of time to avoid confusion during the event.
- Close windows, doors, and hurricane shutters.
Lightning kills more people every year than tornadoes and hurricanes. Rain and heavy winds can cause flooding, damage to homes, and widespread power outages.
- If a thunderstorm appears likely, postpone all outdoor activities.
- If a thunderstorm watch or warning is issued, take shelter in your home or other building.
- Shutter all windows and close exterior doors securely.
Flash flooding can be among the most damaging and costly of all natural disasters.
- If you live in a flood-prone area, keep sandbags, plywood, and plastic sheeting on hand.
- Seal the walls in your basement with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
Although we work hard to maintain reliable electric service, a storm may lead to a power outage. You can report or check the status of an outage at pplelectric.com/outage or by texting “OUTAGE” to TXTPPL (898775).
When it comes to responding to emergencies and keeping the public safe, police, firefighters, and ambulance personnel are critical.
And we want to make sure they’re safe while protecting the public, particularly when they are working around overhead and underground power lines and other electrical equipment.
We’re hoping a new program will do just that. We recently introduced our new electrical safety presentation designed specifically for 911 centers and emergency management agencies.
The response was impressive. Representatives from 23 of the 29 counties we serve joined the free, one-hour Zoom presentation we offered in early May. In all, 86 people were on the call to learn valuable safety lessons.
“It’s always beneficial for our 911 dispatch staff to be involved in this type of training,” said Daniel S. Bellesfield, Lehigh County’s 911 Operations Coordinator. “While we are not physically on scene, being trained and familiar with equipment and terminology will help to expedite responses to emergencies.”
Representatives from PPL’s Public Safety, Emergency Preparedness, Operations and Regional Affairs groups shared valuable information and tips.
“We admire all of the work our first responders do, and we appreciate the willingness of 911 centers and emergency management agencies to join us to learn about what they have to keep in mind when they’re directing first responders at emergency scenes,” said Mark Santayana, public safety manager at PPL Electric Utilities. “And for those who are well versed in these safety measures, this program helps reinforce their importance.”
First responders: Check out additional resources and information specifically for you, as well as an online electrical safety certification course here: ppl.e-smartresponders.com.
Hurricanes have had names for 70 years. Now big winter storms get them. Go figure.
In the electric utility business, we’re always watching the weather, so we’re prepared to respond to any resulting power outages. Winter Storm Gail, which swept through our region in mid-December, was no exception. Our crews worked safely and quickly to get the lights back on for affected customers.
The good news is our hard work and investments in a safer, more reliable, and resilient power grid are paying off in increased reliability for you. Outages are down 30 percent since 2011. And storms, whether named Gail or otherwise, don’t cause as many service problems today compared to even a decade ago.
Here’s why. We’ve replaced older equipment, put up stronger poles and wires, and have a state-of-the-art smart grid in place to automatically detect outages and instantly reroute power to shrink outage footprints and keep the lights on for more customers. Smart grid alone has prevented more than 1 million PPL customer outages since 2015.
Couple that with using data analytics for smarter, more efficient equipment maintenance and a comprehensive tree trimming and clearing program, and you have one of the most reliable grids around.
Among our electric utility peers, we’re a national leader in reliability. That’s a good thing, but we don’t stop trying to improve your service. You rightfully expect that from us.
You can be sure we’ll continue to innovate, looking for ways to make a very reliable grid even better. No matter what Mother Nature throws our way, you can bet the power grid delivering electricity to your home or business – and the people behind it – will serve you well.