Area utilities help out as Dorian rakes Carolinas
Hurricane Dorian’s changes in course have led to changes in plans for Lehigh Valley utility workers.
PPL Electric, which sent more than 40 employees Friday to support Southern utilities preparing for the storm in Florida, recalled those workers the next day, company spokesman Joe Nixon said Thursday.
“We continue to monitor the storm and will be ready to consider additional mutual aid requests from other utilities along the East Coast, should those requests come in,” Nixon said in an email.
Meanwhile, FirstEnergy Corp., whose utilities include Met-Ed, recalled nearly 240 line workers and other personnel from Tampa, Florida, this week, spokesman Todd Meyers said.
But it sent a new crew Tuesday, including an unspecified number of Met-Ed workers, to the Carolinas, where Dorian gained strength.
FirstEnergy operates 10 electric utilities across six states, including Met-Ed, which serves part of the Lehigh Valley. PPL and FirstEnergy belong to various electric utility mutual-assistance groups that work cooperatively to restore service to customers when a natural disaster causes large-scale outages.
“The whole industry is based on the concept of mutual assistance,” Meyers said. “Nobody has enough equipment to do it alone.”
The National Hurricane Center’s projected track showed Dorian passing near or over North Carolina’s Outer Banks on Friday, lashing the thin line of islands that stick out from the U.S. coast like a boxer’s chin. Dorian was then expected to peel away from the shoreline.
On Thursday, Hurricane Dorian raked the Carolina coast with howling, window-rattling winds and sideways rain, spinning off tornadoes and knocking out power to thousands of homes and businesses as it pushed northward.
Leaving at least 20 people dead in its wake in the devastated Bahamas, Dorian swept past Florida on Wednesday at a relatively safe distance, grazed Georgia overnight, and then began hugging the South Carolina coastline with more serious effects.
The storm strengthened briefly to a Category 3 hurricane, then dropped back to a Category 2, with winds of 110 mph, still a threat to hundreds of miles of coastline.
Georgia Power workers restore electricity in the Isle of Hope, Georgia, area Thursday following the passing of Hurricane Dorian.