Storm leaves 600,000 without power in Philadelphia region


Hundreds of thousands of homes in the Philadelphia suburbs are in the dark, with no firm timeframe for when the power will come back on.

More than 600,000 PECO customers were without power at the peak of the outages. 

Ron Perry of West Chester and many others crowded a West Chester Pike convenience store Wednesday  searching for a meal. It was almost hand-to-hand combat for a cup of coffee.

“The roads are marginally safe, some trees down in some locations, some neighborhoods devastated,” he said. “I think they are not too slippery, but with the stoplights being out, we need to take a lot of caution and treat them as four-way stop signs.

“So you have plenty of people out there that are courteous and kind, but there’s always a few out there that are in a hurry, hurry to get their cup of coffee,” Perry said.

Westley Wilson of Pennsbury said he misses his Internet access and also doesn’t appreciate dodging tree limbs and other debris on side roads.

“I live in a lower enclave where many trees are down and, consequently, there’s a lot of mixing up and a lot of detours,” he said of driving. “Challenging is the best description I have for it.”

More than 3,000 PECO Energy crew members are working to restore power. And they will continue to do so, around the clock, said Cathy Engel Menendez of PECO.

“Ugly is a good word to describe it,” she said. “We have seen so much damage — power lines brought down by tree branches and tree limbs. Based on the extensive damage we have seen so far, we believe we will be able to restore service to most customers within the next few days.

“But there will be some customers in the more heavily damaged areas that could be without service into the weekend,” Menendez said.

PECO officials said it’s vital that people treat any downed wire as active and stay away from it.

SEPTA crews also have had their hands full following Wednesday’s early morning snow and ice storm. To get trains running, they have deployed crews armed with chainsaws out in cherry pickers to cut trees off the power lines.

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