Power Restored to Thousands After Blizzard

Thousands across the region were without power over the weekend after the historic blizzard that pummeled the region for 24-plus hours, dropping feet of snow and causing major flooding at the Jersey Shore, moved out.

In New Jersey, Shore towns were the hardest hit by coastal flooding and power outages -- Ac Electric restored power to about 130,000 customers during the storm.. Small outage numbers were reported in parts of Pennsylvania and Delaware.

That number improved on Sunday, but outages persisted in many Jersey Shore towns. Atlantic City Electric reported early Sunday that roughly 18,000 customers were still without power, most of whom live in Cape May, Ocean and Atlantic counties.

AC Electric officials said in a statement that they expected to have power restored to the majority of customers by late Sunday. They said coastal flooding and high winds have slowed crews' efforts to restore power.

In Pennsylvania and Delaware, power was restored by Sunday morning to almost everyone who lost it, with the exception of a few dozen customers.

As of Monday morning only a handful of outages remained in most areas outside of Ocean and Cape May counties where AC Electric worked to get about 250 customers back online.

If you haven’t already done this, go ahead and program your local utility number into your cellphone so you’ll have it to report a problem if you lose power. Here are the numbers for reporting outages to utility companies in our area:

— PECO: 1-800-841-4141
— PSE&G: 1-800-436-7734
— PPL: 1-800-342-5775
— Atlantic City Electric: 1-800-833-7476
— Delmarva Power: 1-800-375-7117

Homes along the Delaware beaches and Jersey Shore were especially hard hit. Stone Harbor and Avalon in Cape May County lost power after wires went down and officials feared that power might not be back until Sunday.

Repair crews with Atlantic City Electric asked customers to be patient. For safety reasons, their crews have to wait until the strong winds subside before trying to restore power.

"We’re keeping a close watch on the weather and wind speeds," said Vince Maione, Atlantic City Electric region president. "We’ll continue conducting a comprehensive assessment which we’ll use to strategically deploy crews. Crews will work around the clock as safely and quickly as possible until every customer is restored."

PECO alone had about 3,000 employees -- including some from Chicago -- ready to go if needed.

If you have suffered a power outage, the American Red Cross advises you unplug unnecessary electrical equipment as well as any appliances you were using when you lost power. Surges when the power comes back on could damage equipment.

Another tip: Leave one light turned on so you'll know when the power returns.

The Red Cross also advises never to use a camp stove, grill or a generator inside a home, garage, basement or partially enclosed area to avoid the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning or fire.

Use those items instead away from doors, windows and vents.

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