In an effort to prevent massive power outages this summer, Met-Ed crews are inspecting equipment and trimming trees throughout its 14-county service area, including Berks County.
The utility company is preparing to respond to power outages during the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30 and is expected to be active this year.
“Summer heat and humidity results in our customers using more fans and air conditioners to stay cool,” said Linda Moss, Met-Ed regional president. “We proactively inspect and maintain our equipment to ensure system reliability to meet the increased electrical demand when temperatures soar, and our customers depend on us to help them remain comfortable.”
An early afternoon thunderstorm June 3 resulted in 35,000 customers losing power in Berks due to downed wires and trees. Power was restored within two days for most customers.
With the hope of preventing additional outages this summer, Met-Ed already has started to clear trees and upgrade equipment.
The inspections and tree cutting will occur throughout Berks, said Todd E. Meyer, Med-Ed spokesman.
“We don’t wait for things to break, although sometimes equipment still fails unexpectedly in the field,” he said.
As part of the preparation, helicopters inspected nearly 1,400 miles of transmission lines to look for problems that need to be addressed immediately.
The inspections include using thermovision cameras that capture infrared images to detect potential problems with equipment.
Met-Ed contractors have trimmed trees along 1,300 miles since January and are expected to trim another 1,800 miles by the end of the year.
For updated company information, including hot weather tips, customers are urged to visit the 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages.
Met-Ed serves about 570,000 customers within 3,300 square miles of eastern and southeastern Pennsylvania.