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Residents struggle while crews race to restore power

By Pam Cunningham, Reporter
Published On: Aug 29 2011 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 30 2011 06:45:54 AM CDT

Residents struggle while crews race to restore power

RICHMOND TWP., Pa. -

About 10,000 Met-Ed and PPL customers remain in the dark in Berks County. They lost service when Hurricane Irene came through this weekend. Now crews are racing to get the lights back on.

In Richmond Township on Knittle Road, the Geisingers learned they lost power in a concerning manner.

"We were sleeping and when the power goes off my machine in there the concentrator it beeps," said Patricia Geisinger.

Patricia Geisinger has pulmonary hypertension and switched to her portable oxygen tank.

"When I breathe it puffs air into my nose and with the electric one it's constant," said Geisinger.

Her husband Dick said the power has never been out this long.  But they have a generator.

"Our neighbor has no generator so we're trying to save his freezer," said Dick Geisinger.

The Geisingers are lending their generator to their neighbors, but down the street the Shelaks don't have one, and they wished they did.

"This is our refrigerator for now," said Jean Shelak as she points to a cooler, "We had to get rid of some of things that we had in our refrigerator because it spoiled."

Jean and Dave Shelak have been relying on this make-shift kitchen in their garage.

"We were prepared for some of this for maybe a day a few hours, but now it's days," said Dave Shelak.

They have a well which means without electricity they don't have water.

"It's just been very rough,  it's horrible," said Jean Shelak.

She wants to know how long she has to live like this.

"We get told one day it's tomorrow or Wednesday and then the next time you call it's the end of the week," said Jean Shelak, "So we don't know."

"I guess they're overwhelmed," said Dave Shelak, "They don't want to pay overtime. I have no idea."

A spokesperson for Met-Ed said 24 hours after the storm they have restored some of the their customers' power.

"We do have crews out working," said Scott Surgeoner, "They will be working around the clock 24-hours a day until that last customer is restored into service."

Met-Ed said the bulk of their customers should have power by Friday, but some might have to wait until next week.