Icy conditions create power outage concerns

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LANCASTER, Pa. --- An icy start to the week could send a chill down power lines

Jess Baker with PPL Electric Utilities said ice is always a "big concern" for them, specifically because of what it can do to neighboring trees.

She said trees are a major cause of outages during storms.

"We really prepare for storms, year round, by doing a lot of tree trimming and installing new technologies to help restore customers faster," said Baker.

An example Baker mentioned was PPL Electric's 'Smart Grid' technology that allows the re-routing of power away from any damage with a stroke on a keyboard.

She said over the next couple days, the company is preparing with extra crews on stand-by.

"If there's outages overnight, we'll definitely be able to respond as quickly as possible," said Baker.

Chief Scott Little with Lancaster City Bureau of Fire said winter days are good times for heightened fire awareness.

He said check to make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are present and working.

"There's always fire hazards involved any time you're trying to deal with any type of heating source," said Chief Little.

Little warned residents to avoid using a stove, whether it be electric or gas, for home heating.

He said doing so can put you at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning or injury to another person or children near an open over door.

"We recommend definitely not to be using appliances that are not fitted for heating sources for your residence," said Little.

He said another important facet is to make sure fireplaces, chimneys and furnaces are well maintained before turning them on to avoid finding a problem when it's too late.

They recommend something as simple as using battery-powered lighting, such as flashlights, as opposed to candles to keep safe during winter power outages.

"limit as much as you can of open-source flames and just keep that fire safety in your mindset," said Little.

PPL Electric officials are also reminding people that if you see a downed power line, assume that it is energized with power going to it.

Baker said to stay away from it and contact an electricity provider to get the issue resolved.

For more information on fire safety during winter storms, Little recommended this link.

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