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.
Whether you love winter, hate it, or simply don’t give a snowflake, we want you to stay safe when a winter storm strikes. ❄️
Electrical safety is just part of the story when the snow starts piling up. We’re ready to safely respond to any resulting power outages. The question is: Are you prepared to stay safe – at home and on the road?
Here are 10 ways to stay safe when Mother Nature really brings the snow.
- Don’t wear loose clothing, like scarves, that can get pulled into a snow blower’s moving parts.
- Always turn off your snow blower, or unplug it if it’s an electric model, before clearing a clog at the auger or discharge chute.
- Start and run your snow blower outside, never in a garage or enclosed space where carbon monoxide can accumulate.
- If you have a history of heart problems, or you’re inactive, check with your doctor before shoveling. And stretch beforehand to prevent muscle injuries.
- Dress in layers and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. It’s not a race. Take breaks if you get tired.
- If you don’t have to travel – stay home. Winter weather causes about a half million crashes each year, resulting in over 2,000 deaths.
- If you must drive, slow down, accelerate and decelerate slowly, and increase your following distance to 5 or 6 seconds.
- Going long distance? Let others know your destination, route, and estimated arrival time. Pack a kit that includes blankets and heavy clothing for emergencies, along with extra food and water.
- If you’re stuck, stay with your vehicle. If necessary, clear the exhaust pipe to eliminate deadly carbon monoxide fumes from entering your vehicle. To conserve gas, run your car for short periods, just enough to remove the chill.
- Always stay clear of any downed power lines and call PPL at 1-800-342-5775 to report them. Assume any downed line is energized.
Sources: American Automobile Association; Consumer Reports; Mayo Clinic; PPL Electric Utilities
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).
Looks like 2020 is at it again. Weather scientists are predicting a more active than normal hurricane season this year. Even though we’re working a bit differently these days, we’ll be ready if any of those storms affect central and eastern Pennsylvania.
We want you to be ready too. Stay alert by tuning into local weather reports and check out our tips to prepare for severe weather.
When the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its hurricane season predictions on May 21, acting Administrator Neil Jacobs noted the upcoming season was no different than any other, in the sense that early planning and preparedness is essential. We couldn’t agree more.
NOAA predicted the likelihood of 13-19 named storms, 6-10 hurricanes and 3-6 major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher) this season, which officially runs from June 1 through November 30. What’s considered average? NOAA says a normal hurricane season will bring 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.
The approaching warmer weather not only ushers in hurricane season, it’s also prime time for thunderstorms and other severe weather. However, our continued grid investments have reduced the impact of these storms. From 2011 to 2019, we reduced the annual number of customer interruptions by 30 percent. Since 2010, we’ve also reduced the overall frequency of these interruptions by nearly a third.
Our extensive use of smart grid technology helps us reduce outages, along with other things like replacing aging equipment with stronger, more storm-resistant poles and wires, comprehensive tree trimming, improved lightning protection, expanded use of animal guards, and more.
Strong storms like hurricanes will still produce some power outages, but no matter the circumstances, we’re prepared to work around the clock to get the lights back on. The pandemic may have us working differently, but we’re still delivering for our customers no matter what Mother Nature – or 2020 – throws at us.
Visit pplelectric.com/safety and pplelectric.com/outage for great information on how to stay safe before, during and after a storm.
It’s winter storm season in Pennsylvania. Even if you don’t tune into the weather reports, you’ll recognize the signs of an impending storm by the parking lot of your local grocery store.
So how can you prepare in advance and stay safe when a winter storm strikes? We have some tips that will help before, during and after the snowfall.
- Create a household and vehicle emergency kit with all the essentials, including water, food and any medication you take on a daily basis.
- Listen for weather alerts and advisories so you’re not caught unprepared.
- Charge your cell phone and keep a flashlight nearby in case of a power outage.
- Stay off the roads. This helps clear traffic for first responders.
- If you have a generator, make sure to follow our Emergency Tips for storm and generator safety.
- Stay warm and indoors. It’s a great time to pile on the blankets and cuddle up with a good book.
- When shoveling snow, dress warm and limit your time outside to avoid frostbite and overexertion.
- Monitor the weather alerts and advisories before heading out on the road.
The Department of Homeland Security offers even more information on staying safe during snowstorms. Check out their resources at ready.gov/winter-weather.