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PECO Crews Scrambling To Restore All Power Before Next Storm Arrives

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By Jenn Bernstein and Pat Ciarrocchi

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — PECO is hoping to have all power restored by the end of Tuesday. As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, about 590 customers remained without power.

Utility crews descended on one Devon neighborhood in Chester County to finish up restoration efforts around 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Neighbor John Castleman only lost power for one day, but his neighbors across the street were without light and heat for at least five days.

“The two sides of the street are on different networks and if one side goes down, people will string extension cords across the street so people can plug in their refrigerators and that sort of thing,” said Castleman.

More than 6,000 PECO employees, contractors and out of state workers are still in the area helping a few who remain without power on day seven.

While restoration efforts are winding down, another storm is headed our way.

PECO plans to keep as many people as possible in place, but the weather could make some of the region’s helping hands, head home.

“Many of the crews we have working on our service territory right now may not be available because they may have to go back to their utilities to help support their relief efforts,” said PECO Spokesman Ben Armstrong.

As CBS 3’s Pat Ciarrocchi reports, volunteer linemen from Connecticut Light & Power need to head home Wednesday because of the approaching nor’easter.

“All IBEW union lighting, great guys, hard workers, all volunteer, to come down and help put lights on,” Lou Rogulski said.

Lou Rogulski is a foreman from Connecticut Light & Power, headed home with a 60 person contingent after helping us get out of the dark.

Connecticut has been here since Thursday, adding to the largest field force in PECO history. On Wednesday, PECO had 2,500 people in the field. On Thursday, added 2,100 more. Followed by 500 on Friday, and 800 on Saturday, and 580 on Sunday — making for 6,800 people, on the job.

Lou says his guys are passionate about line work. Sixteen hours a day through snow, slippery ice, and backyards and up hills.

“A line worker in this state is a line worker in another state, there is a brotherhood there,” he said.

PECO reports that it replaced 465 poles, 73 miles of area wire and 204 transformers with the help of additional crews from eight states, and Canada.

“We have families too and when our lights are off, we’re out working trying to get everybody else’s on. We know exactly what it is like,” Rogulski said.

The crew from Connecticut will head out first thing Wednesday morning so that they can be ready for round two.

Now PECO is looking ahead.

Armstrong says their in-house employees and crews will be ready and alert.

“You can expect all personnel will be available to help work through that effort should it hit our service territory,” said Armstrong.

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