Who Gets Their Power Back On First? An Inside Look At PECO’s Game Plan
By Todd Quinones
ABINGTON, Pa., (CBS) — More than 1,000 utility crews are on their way from as far west as Chicago to help restore power to people who are in the dark.
To put it simply, it’s the luck of the draw.
If you’re home is without power it depends on which power line is damaged that counts.
Meaning if the power to your home is out because there’s damage to a major transmission line that services thousands, that is actually a good thing according to PECO. Your home by default will be a priority.
“If we know there is an outage on a higher voltage 34,000 volt line that’s part of a circuit that can serve tens of thousands of customers. We will go and we will restore service to that jobsite,” PECO spokesperson Cathy Engel Menendez said.
That’s why the more than 700,000 PECO customers who first lost power was quickly reduced to about 350,000 customers without power in the first 24 hours.
Now comes the bad news. As crews continue to work the less efficient they become at restoring power to large chunks of the population at one time.
“As you continue to work through the storm the crews still need to do the same amount of work but each time it’s restoring service to fewer and fewer groups of people,” Menendez said.
So for example, Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro and roughly 100 of his neighbors are all without power in Abington.
That’s because their power was cut when a tree took down a power line that serves only them, meaning their lower on the priority list.
Just listen to what it takes to restore power in this one case.
“A tree comes down on a wire, the first thing we have to do is get a PECO representative out here to make sure the wire is not hot. Once that is determined then we are in a position to deal with chopping up the tree. The public works departments for municipal governments have been doing the chopping, the county had been doing the coordinating between PECO and the municipal governments. Once it’s all chopped then we are in a position to have PECO come back and try and restore power,” Shapiro said.
PECO indicates most customers should have their power restored Friday, but that everyone won’t have their power back until Sunday.