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Bucks and Montgomery counties still struggle with power outages

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 06 2014 05:00:49 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 06 2014 06:38:05 PM CST

It's another day in the dark for nearly 350,000 PECO customers in Bucks, Montgomery and Chester counties.

It's another day in the dark for nearly 350,000 PECO customers in Bucks, Montgomery and Chester counties.

They lost power during the latest brush with wintry weather.

While crews work to get the lights back on, any residents are working to keep warm.

Upper Dublin Township's Eric Mills has been heating his home by igniting his gas stove.

"When I woke up this morning it was 49 degrees," he said inside his kitchen.

Ninety-four percent of PECO customers in Upper Dublin Township are without electricity since Tuesday night.

Countywide, the number exceeds 130,000 customers still searching for power.

"Sandy kind of prepared us for this," Mills said.

Mills, whose mother-in-law is visiting from California, doesn't have a generator but, somewhat ironically, uses Mother Nature to save his food.

Outside ice and snow is stuffed into coolers keeping perishable items cold.

The mid-week ice storm brought down trees and power lines.

"This is pretty bad, I mean I know the company usually ramps up but I think it's a little worse than everybody expected," PECO line mechanic Tom Blanken said.

Power was cut to not only homes, but area grocery stores and gas stations.

Maura Kelly, who's a care giver for her 23-year-old son, needed friends from Philadelphia to bring gas for the generator, as she couldn't find a working pump.

"May not be suitable for the news, but I put on four stove burners to keep the house warm. I stayed up all night to make sure the house didn't burn down," Kelly said.

The county says, since the storm, over 400 electrical fires have been reported, as have a thousand road obstructions, 197 accidents and nearly 8,000 calls to 9-1-1. That's more calls than during Hurricane Sandy.

Shelters are set up around the county for those in need.

"Some of us can't leave. I can't take my son anywhere else he has to be here," Kelly went on to say.

Bucks County hasn't fared much better.

At 11 a.m. over 100,000 customers were still cut off from power.

Customers are still wondering when their power will be returned.

PECO says most customers will have it back on by Friday, but some don't expect it until Sunday.

But a light at the end of the tunnel can be seen, as we saw electricity restored to traffic lights, area stores and gas stations.