ShareThis Page
Editorial: Are electric companies aware winter is coming? |

Editorial: Are electric companies aware winter is coming?

The Tribune-Review
| Tuesday, November 20, 2018 4:33 p.m

It seems like just yesterday that we were saying that there were too many power outages in Southwestern Pennsylvania and someone ought to pay attention to it.

Actually it wasn’t yesterday. It was August , when the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission said power outages had gone up 150 percent in just once year. Of those 50 statewide incidents, 34 percent were felt by West Penn Power or Duquesne Light customers.

And now it’s happening again .

After last week’s blast of snow and sleet, trees toppled and lines fell and more than 50,000 people lost their electricity. Some were restored Friday but others lingered into the weekend. And Monday. The latest message from West Penn said the last homes will be lit up again by 10 p.m. Tuesday, while Central Electric Cooperative users in Armstrong and Butler counties will remain powerless into Wednesday as they wait for West Penn Power to repair damaged substations.

Come on.

Yes, the storm was unseasonably early. But still, we knew winter was coming, right?

Okay, fine. Snow and ice happen. We can’t plan for everything. Act of God and all that.

But the PUC report shows that the state wants more investment in the infrastructure of power distribution, and that more time and attention has to be paid to maintaining what’s already there.

That shouldn’t be hard to see, even in the dark, when it is taking a massive effort of more than
500 additional lineman and others to work on restoring power. Those are spread across the six states in West Penn Power’s parent company, First Energy, holdings hit by the storm. All told,
248,000 customers were left powerless and
203,000 have been restored

Let’s remember that is more than 248,000 people. That’s 248,000 electric bills, each of which could mean a family of moms, dads, kids and grandparents. Talking about “customers” is understandable for the utility companies, but it has a natural way of reducing every four or five people hit to just the one name on the envelope.

Hopefully everyone will have lights again by Thanksgiving morning. Hopefully everyone will get to watch the Macy’s parade and the holiday meal won’t be ruined by non-functioning stoves and no one will get food poisoning because the refrigerator didn’t work.

And hopefully the utility companies realize that winter doesn’t even start for another 30 days, and that there will be three months of more snow and ice and wind and rain behind that. Maybe it’s too late to replace that infrastructure and maintain the lines this year.

But brace yourself for next year, electric companies. Winter will be coming. Again.

Categories: Editorials
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.