PECO: Winter Storm Is Second-Worst in Company History [Updated]

PECO has its hands full.

[Update 3 pm]

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PECO reports:

PECO has actively been working to restore power to thousands of customers impacted by today’s winter storm, which brought a mix of snow, ice and freezing rain to the region. The storm caused extensive damage to trees, tree limbs and electrical equipment, and already has become the second most damaging storm in PECO history.

More than 3,000 personnel, including 1,500 field employees, are working to restore service to customers and will continue to work around the clock to make repairs. PECO’s emergency response organization is activated and every PECO employee is focused on storm restoration activities.

With damage still occurring, it is too early to determine when service will be restored to all customers. Based on the conditions and damages so far, we believe we will be able to restore service to most customers in the next few days. However, some customers – in more heavily damaged areas – could be without service into the weekend

SEPTA gets ready for the evening rush, still partly disabled from the ice:

General Announcement:
RRD: Service is operating with delays up to 30 minutes due to weather conditions.
Bus:
Route 55: Buses have resumed normal routing, expect delays while full operation is restored.
Route 204: Service has resumed with delays of up to 20 minutes.
Route 120: Service is suspended until further notice .
Route 20: Service will remain on Academy Road. No Keswick or Medford trips.
Regional Rail:
Lansdale/Doylestown: Normal service has resumed. Train #564 will operate to Link Belt.
Cynwyd, Warminster, West Trenton: Service is suspended until further notice.
Paoli/Thorndale: Train service is suspended for the remainder of the day.

Villanova is closed today and tomorrow because the campus lacks power and heat:

Villanova says, “Unfortunately, we are not able to get an estimate as to when power to the campus might be restored. This power outage also effects our ability to provide heat to campus buildings. Since we are not able to determine when power will be restored, the decision has been made to close the University on Thursday, February 6, 2014.”

The school says that campus buildings are equipped with emergency generators that provide emergency lighting and operate building fire alarm systems but all campus residence halls are without power and heat except for generators.

[Update: 12:25 pm] Fox 29 reports:

This mix of ice and sleet is continuing to cause power outages to pile up across the area. Right now, PECO is reporting more than 610,000 outages.

PECO's county with the most outages is Chester with 184,000 of its 212,000 customers in the dark. Next highest are Montgomery County, with more than 180,000 customers affected, and Bucks County, which is at 145,000.

Even Philadelphia has more than 31,000 customers without power.

[Update: 9:40 am] The PECO outage map is a doozy at this hour. Philly.com reports that more than 500,000 people in the region are without power;

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[Update 7:40 am] It's not fun out there:

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Here's SEPTA's system status as of 7:45 am:

Bus:
Route 204: Service has resumed with delays of up to 20 minutes.
Route 205: Service has resumed. Expect residual delays while full operations are restored.
Route 55: Service is suspended due to downed wires and weather related conditions.
Routes 120, 93, 101, 102: Service is suspended until further notice.
Route 53: Service is terminating at Wayne and Chelten due to icy conditions.
Route 20: Service will remain on Academy Road. No Keswick or Medford trips.
Trolley:
Routes 120, 93, 101, 102: Service is suspended until further notice.
Regional Rail:
Media/Elwyn: Correction: Trains #309 and #3224 will operate on or close to schedule.
Paoli/Thorndale: Service is suspended between Thorndale and Bryn Mawr. Limited service between Bryn Mawr and Center City.
West Trenton: Service is suspended until further notice. Alternate service suggestions are available online.
Trenton: Train #9720 is canceled. Trains #7534 and #9724 will make all   local stops.
Lansdale/Doylestown: Trains #514, #516, #515, and #6517 are canceled.
Chestnut Hill East: Trains #5712 and 6713 are canceled.
Norristown High Speed Line:
Norristown High Speed Line: Trolley service will operate between 69th St and Bryn Mawr ONLY. Passengers can use the Manayunk/Norristown Line for service to Norristown. NHSL fares will be honored.

The Inquirer reports:

Latest figures from PECO show more than 290,000 customers are without electricity in the four suburban counties and Philadelphia, with Chester County leading the list.

Kathy Engel-Mendendez, a PECO spokeswoman, said the utility expected the outage numbers to climb and that it is too early to say when power might be restored to all those without electricity.

"We have a larger amount of down power lines and transformers that have exploded," said Scott Forster, emergency manager for Bucks County "We have multiple road sections that are closed because of trees."

[Original] Here we go again. 6ABC reports: "Wiinter storm warnings will expire through the morning from south to north (but not until 1p.m. in the Lehigh Valley). However, conditions are treacherous in some cases prior to the expected improvement. We never got much snow overnight south of the Lehigh Valley and many areas went straight to sleet and freezing rain. This has resulted in icy sidewalks and roads where there has been no pre-treatment. Pedestrians should be especially wary. Sidewalks that look wet could be a sheet of ice. Unexpected icy patches on roads are also possible. Some untreated ropads may be an entire sheet of ice."

NBC 10 adds:  "It also caused wrecks around the region including a crash that closed the Schuylkill Expressway (I-76) westbound approaching Conshohocken. Around 5 a.m. PennDOT closed the highway eastbound at the Blue Route (I-476) due to concerns about downed trees."

 

And: "A speed restriction and a ban on commercial vehicles was put in place on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and area bridges due to low visibility and slippery roads. More than 150 flights were canceled or delayed at Philly International. And, dozens of schools planned late arrivals or closures as the storm dropped ice on the region. (Philly public schools were already closed for and in-service day.)"

Power is also a problem: 

Thousands of people in the area woke up without power Wednesday morning.

As of 4:45 a.m., more than 50,000 customers aorund the region were in the dark.

PECO customers were hit hardest -- the majority of outages in the Montgomery, Bucks and Chester Counties.

A spokesperson for PECO Energy, which has about 1.6 million customers in the Philadelphia-area, says snapped power lines, icy trees and cars crashing into utility poles are the main cause of outages for their customers.

Here's SEPTA's status as of 5 am:

Bus:
Route 55: Service is suspended due to downed wires and weather related conditions.
Route 53: Service is terminating at Wayne and Chelten due to icy conditions.
Route 20: Service will remain on Academy Road. No Keswick or Medford trips.
Trolley:
Routes 101, 102: Service is suspended until further notice.
Regional Rail:
Trenton: Service has resumed normal operations.
Paoli/Thorndale: Service is suspended between Thorndale and Bryn Mawr. Limited service between Bryn Mawr and Center City.
West Trenton: Service is suspended until further notice. Alternate service suggestions are available online.
Norristown High Speed Line:
Norristown High Speed Line: Service will operate between 69th St and Bryn Mawr ONLY.