Area util­i­ties help out as Do­rian rakes Caroli­nas

The Morning Call - - BUSINESS CYCLE - By An­thony Sala­m­one

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.

STEVE BISSON/AP

Ge­or­gia Power workers re­store elec­tric­ity in the Isle of Hope, Ge­or­gia, area Thurs­day fol­low­ing the pass­ing of Hur­ri­cane Do­rian.

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