Why it takes longer to restore power as outages dwindle

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Feb 7, 2014 2:28 PM

(York) -- About 2,000 electric workers from as far away as South Carolina are working in York County, where about 20,000 customers remain without power.


Photo by Cara Fry/witf

Progress is slowly being made to return things to normal.

The immediate goals for restoration are clear - 90 percent of Penelec customers by midnight tonight and 95 percent by midnight tomorrow.

But it's getting there that requires more work than usual.

Spokesman Chris Eck says many of the big chunks of outages have been eliminated.

"The challenge we're facing now is we're getting down to the smaller outages and it'll take more crew visits and more repairs to restore fewer and fewer customers. Sort of that tail end of the restoration curve tends to get longer the closer you get to fully restored."

Eck says some outages require not only crews from Penelec, but forestry personnel to help them get to the wires.

"And then we work our way down into the areas where maybe wires are up in the woods or up in the hills, and it's still icy up there and it's difficult to get to. And we might have to send in a forestry crew to clean up debris and then a crew to fix the line, and then we have to power the line. It could require multiple crew visits to restore a relatively smaller number of customers."

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, about 80,000customers in York County didn't have electricity.

President Obama has signed an emergency declaration for seven counties in Pennsylvania, including York and Lancaster.

The American Red Cross has closed all remaining shelters in the region as the need for them has passed.

The shelters at the Living Hope Community Church in Lancaster has shut down, while the shelter at York County School of Technology will close at 4:00 p.m.

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