Utility companies warn customers to prepare as winter storm appr - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Utility companies warn customers to prepare as winter storm approaches

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With severe winter weather predicted for our region, FirstEnergy Corp. is one of several power companies encouraging customers to prepare for outages as a result of high winds and heavy snow.

Customers should take the following steps to prepare for the possibility of a power outage.@

  • Keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy.
  • Use care when burning candles; open flames are a fire hazard.
  • Gather extra blankets or a sleeping bag for each person.
  • Do not use gas stoves, kerosene heaters or other open-flame heat sources to prevent deadly carbon monoxide gas from building up in your home.
  • If you have a water well and pump, keep an emergency supply of bottled water and/or fill your bathtub with fresh water. Stock an emergency supply of convenience foods that do not require cooking.
  • Keep a battery-powered radio with extra batteries on hand.
  • Have a hard-wired telephone or a charged cell phone handy in the event you need to report your electricity is out. Mobile phones can be charged in your vehicle using a car charger when the power is out. If you have a smart phone, this will ensure you have access to online information sources.
  • Customers should immediately report downed wires to their local utility or local police or fire department. Customers should never go near a downed power line, even if they think it's no longer carrying electricity.
  • Don't try to remove trees or tree limbs from power lines. Wait for utility crews.

Emergency power generators offer an option for customers needing or wanting uninterrupted service. However, to ensure the safety of the home's occupants as well as that of utility company employees who may be working on power lines in the area, the proper generator should be selected and installed by a qualified electrician. When operating a generator, the power coming into the home should always be disconnected. Otherwise, power from the generator could be sent back onto the utility lines, creating a hazardous situation for utility workers.

FirstEnergy customer call centers will be fully staffed. Customers who are without power are encouraged to call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report their outage or click the "Report Outage" link on the FirstEnergy web site via smartphone.