The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Nation & World

February 7, 2014

Utility crews chip away at outages in Pennsylvania, Maryland

PHILADELPHIA — A small army of electricity restoration crews labored Friday to reconnect nearly 300,000 customers in Pennsylvania and Maryland, and utility companies warned some will have to wait several more days.

The lion's share of the outages remained in the Philadelphia suburbs, where many schools were closed for a third day, and a PECO spokesman said work was continuing around the clock. PECO accounted for about 250,000 outages late Friday afternoon.

"That number is coming down throughout the course of the day," said PECO spokesman Fred Maher. "We are preparing people for the fact that some folks will be without power over the weekend."

Severe cold weather that gripped the mid-Atlantic on Friday was expected to remain in place for days, and forecasters said light snow was possible over the weekend.

Utility companies reported about 280,000 customers without power in Pennsylvania — most of them in the five-county Philadelphia area. In Maryland, service has been restored to all but about 16,000 homes and businesses.

There has been progress — more than a million total outages had been attributed to the storm.

Systems engineer John Bowman said he has been buying $6 packages of firewood at a neighborhood hardware store, planning to burn them in the coming days to keep the temperature in his Downingtown home high enough to prevent damage to water pipes. He said he was told it may be Sunday before his power is restored.

"With the way the sun's been warming up the house, I don't want to use those rations yet," Bowman said.

Rachel Ezekiel Fishbein of Elkins Park lost power before dawn Wednesday, a day after she spent about $300 on groceries in anticipation of the storm. Although she tried to save some perishables by packing them outside in a cooler in the snow, she wasn't optimistic on Friday morning.

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