Skip to main content

Day 4, 5, 6: Thousands brave storm's aftermath

02/12/2014 02:42PM, Published by ACL, Categories: In Print, News


A representative from National Grid attempts to restore power to a power line on Fairville Road in Kennett Township on Feb. 9.



By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

A devastating storm that swept through Pennsylvania last Wednesday, blanketing Chester County with half an inch of ice, caused a whopping number of power outages in the five-county area serviced by the Philadelphia Electric Company. Outages affected more than 200,000 PECO customers in Chester County, of which more than 2,000 are still without power.  

Image title

The Feb. 3 storm affected 623,000 PECO customers in Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware, Philadelphia and Chester counties, accounting for 80 percent of all PECO customers. Over the course of the last week, the company’s website experienced 4.5 million page views, and the customer care center fielded more than a million calls. 

As of Feb. 11, however, the largest number of customers still without power are in Chester County. According to the PECO website, while PECO has been able to restore power to 209,000 customers in the county, 975 still remained without power. This number is by far the largest of PECO's trouble spots.

In the aftermath of the power outages, the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania established shelters in Exton, and at Avon Grove High School in West Grove. Meanwhile, thousands of individuals and families in the county either sought shelter in the homes of friends, family and neighbors, or used generators.   

In response to the historic storm – the second worst in company history -- PECO deployed a 6,800-member team, which included employees, contractors and workers from utilities in Canada and across the country, including crews from the company’s sister utilities, ComEd in Chicago and BGE in Baltimore, and others from Alabama, Arkansas, Massachusetts, New York and Ohio.   

If Chester County was the epicenter of the power outages in the past week, then the rural, tree-lined roads of Kennett Township may have been its Ground Zero point. As of Feb. 8, about 1,600 township residents were still without power, five days after the storm. Those without power contacted a PECO hotline, and many have reported their frustration about notifications that told callers that power would be restored at a certain day and a hour, only to prove inaccurate.

On Sunday morning, Fairville Road was a virtual roadblock of out-of-state power service vehicles and tree cutters, all of whom attempted to restore power to the area. Twelve representatives representing National Grid, a power and gas company that delivers service to 3.3 million customers in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island, attempted to fix damaged power lines as temperatures hovered in the low 20s. 

"The fact that the trees haven't been trimmed, as well as the heavy ice load, caused these white pines to break off and these wires to all come down," said Michael P. Peters, a supervisor of electric operations for the company, who was part of a six-unit contingent from upstate New York. 

By Sunday afternoon, National Grid had finished work at Fairville Road, and were following the  tree cutters toward Center Mill Road. "As they clear the trees, we're putting the wire in and repairing the cross lines," Peters said. 

As the National Grid workers repaired lines at Fairville Road, Kay Young, who has lived on the road with her family for the past 15 years, was watching. She and her family had been without power since Feb. 3, and their main source of heat had been a fireplace in the family room. For several days, the family hung blankets over doorways to keep the heat of the fireplace in the room. Young seemed resigned to the temporary fate that the storm had brought. 

"Most of my family has been showering at the YMCA in Kennett Square," Young said. "We have no heat, and we bring food in. You cannot expect immediate service with a situation as widespread as this. We're fine. We're not going to freeze to death." 

Other township residents were not as accepting of the delay. One township resident, who chose not to be named, said that the problem lay with the number of exposed telephone and power wires clearly visible in the township.  

"We're frustrated because of our neighborhood of about 22 homes has underground wires, and we lose electricity all the time because we're attached to another grid," she said. "Because of this, we were out of power for 40 hours, got electricity back for about 20 hours, and then we lost it again for about a day and a half." 

Although a recently installed generator has helped provide some power in her home, a lot of her friends and neighbors didn't have generators. She said that her family had taken in a few area residents over the past week.

"A lot of people are very, very frustrated and struggling," she said. "When everybody else has wire issues, it still takes us down. All of the wires in this township should be underground. They spend a fortune cutting back the trees, and they make them look horrendous. They can spend a fraction of that money on underground utility wires and be done with it."

In an effort to keep township residents informed, Kennett Township manager Lisa Moore sent an electronic letter to residents on Feb. 8. In the letter, Moore wrote that she had participated in a conference call with PECO representatives, who said that their top priority during the outage was to restore service to schools and medical centers -- namely 26 schools, two long-term health care facilities, a senior center, as well as pump stations and radio towers.

"PECO is focusing on restoring power to the most populated areas first, after the health care centers and schools are restored," the letter read. "Residents will continue to experience periodic outages in areas of the township. Also, some may notice that your neighbors have power and you don't. This will occur until all power is restored.

"Restoration times for specific outages may change frequently," the letter read. "In some situations, an outage may even be reported as restored, when in fact, an outage remains. This is the result of a ‘nested outage’ – additional damage that remains somewhere else along an electric circuit or line after a larger issue has been resolved."

Moore said that she continues to participate in conference calls with PECO and emergency service units several times a day, as well as with Greg Carey, PECO's regional external affairs manager for Chester and York counties.

In a website posting on Feb. 10, PECO wrote that they were continuing to attempt to restore power to the remaining 21,000 customers, and that service will be restored to "a majority of customers" who remain without power. However, the message read, some customers in the most heavily damaged areas will be without service into early this week.

By Feb. 11, PECO reported that it had restored electric service to nearly all of its 715,000 customers impacted by the storm, but that 2,000 customers were still without power. Moore said that as of Feb. 11, 94 homes in Kennett Township were still without power.

Chester County could very well replay the same power outage scenario this week. The National Weather Service is reporting that a strong coastal storm is expected to reach the county beginning Wednesday evening and continuing into Friday morning, dumping another 6 to 8 inches of snow, sleet and freezing rain, and leaving as much as a quarter-inch of ice. 


Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Chester County's free newsletter to catch every headline



peco weather snow storm philadelphia electric company american red cross of southeastern pennsylvania


You might also like


  • Milburn Orchards UPICK Cherry Adventure

    07/02/2015
    08:00am — 06:00pm

    Tons of sweet (both red & white) and tart cherries makes for a great UPICK Adventure for the whol...


  • Sunday Brunch

    07/02/2015
    11:00am — 02:00pm

    Every Sunday from 11-2PM Continental Buffet, Waffle bar, fresh fruits, Mimosa, Bloody Mary an...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    07/02/2015
    06:00pm — 07:00pm

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • The Chester Springs Studio wood kiln is a two chamber noborigama, constructed in 2014 during a wo...


  • Sunday Brunch

    07/04/2015
    11:00am — 02:00pm

    Every Sunday from 11-2PM Continental Buffet, Waffle bar, fresh fruits, Mimosa, Bloody Mary an...


  • Fitness Walks

    07/08/2015
    08:30am — 09:30am

    Turn off the treadmill and forget the gym! Start your day with an invigorating hour-long hike thr...


  • Native Plants of Summer

    07/08/2015
    09:30am — 11:30am

    When the exuberant spring wildflower display is over, summer challenges us to find eye-catching p...


  • Awaken Your Inner Artist: Drawing Workshop

    07/08/2015
    09:30am — 11:30am

    Release the artist within you! Enhance your creativity and artistic confidence by turning off you...


  • Awaken Your Inner Artist: Drawing Workshop

    07/08/2015
    09:30am — 11:30am

    Release the artist within you! Enhance your creativity and artistic confidence by turning off you...


  • Gentle Yoga

    07/08/2015
    05:00pm — 06:00pm

    Reduce the aches and pains of age by increasing your range of motion through the practice of yoga...


  • Hatha Yoga

    07/08/2015
    06:30pm — 07:30pm

    This series of vigorous exercises is designed to strengthen the body and increase flexibility whi...


  • Sunday Brunch

    07/02/2015
    11:00am — 02:00pm

    Every Sunday from 11-2PM Continental Buffet, Waffle bar, fresh fruits, Mimosa, Bloody Mary an...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    07/02/2015
    06:00pm — 07:00pm

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • Milburn Orchards UPICK Cherry Adventure

    07/02/2015
    08:00am — 06:00pm

    Tons of sweet (both red & white) and tart cherries makes for a great UPICK Adventure for the whol...


  • West Chester Applebee’s, located at 1107 West Chester Pike, will be hosting two lemonade stands: ...


  • Sunday Brunch

    07/03/2015
    11:00am — 02:00pm

    Every Sunday from 11-2PM Continental Buffet, Waffle bar, fresh fruits, Mimosa, Bloody Mary an...


  • Milburn Orchards UPICK Cherry Adventure

    07/03/2015
    08:00am — 06:00pm

    Tons of sweet (both red & white) and tart cherries makes for a great UPICK Adventure for the whol...


  • The Chester Springs Studio wood kiln is a two chamber noborigama, constructed in 2014 during a wo...


  • Sunday Brunch

    07/04/2015
    11:00am — 02:00pm

    Every Sunday from 11-2PM Continental Buffet, Waffle bar, fresh fruits, Mimosa, Bloody Mary an...


  • The Chester Springs Studio wood kiln is a two chamber noborigama, constructed in 2014 during a wo...


  • Half the Money, all the bottle. Every Tuesday

    07/05/2015
    11:00am — 09:00pm

    EVERY TUESDAY ‎Half the money, all the bottle.1/2 Price Bottle of Wine / Every Tuesday with your...


  • Delaware Aerospace Overnight Academy

    07/05/2015
    12:00pm — 03:00pm

    Destination Moon academy is for students entering 7, 8, & 9th grade. The academy will run from J...


  • Week long academy at University of Delaware, Clayton Hall, from July 5th through July 10th for st...


  • Steamin' Day at Auburn Heights

    07/05/2015
    12:30pm — 04:30pm

    Celebrate stars, stripes, and steam during Steamin’ Day at Auburn Heights over the 4th of July ho...


  • Taste Kennett Food Tours

    07/05/2015
    01:00pm — 04:00pm

    Taste Kennett Food Tours, creators of memorable, unique and fun food experiences, offer three-hou...


  • Taste Kennett Food Tours

    07/05/2015
    01:00pm — 04:00pm

    Taste Kennett Food Tours, creators of memorable, unique and fun food experiences, offer three-hou...


  • Half the Money, all the bottle. Every Tuesday

    07/06/2015
    11:00am — 09:00pm

    EVERY TUESDAY ‎Half the money, all the bottle.1/2 Price Bottle of Wine / Every Tuesday with your...


  • Monday's are Whiskey nights at Minihane's

    07/06/2015
    05:00pm — 11:00pm

    Whisky is not the same as Whiskey! There is some debate about whether or not Scottish distill...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    07/06/2015
    06:00pm — 07:00pm

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • Half the Money, all the bottle. Every Tuesday

    07/07/2015
    11:00am — 09:00pm

    EVERY TUESDAY ‎Half the money, all the bottle.1/2 Price Bottle of Wine / Every Tuesday with your...


  • Fitness Walks

    07/08/2015
    08:30am — 09:30am

    Turn off the treadmill and forget the gym! Start your day with an invigorating hour-long hike thr...


  • Native Plants of Summer

    07/08/2015
    09:30am — 11:30am

    When the exuberant spring wildflower display is over, summer challenges us to find eye-catching p...


  • Awaken Your Inner Artist: Drawing Workshop

    07/08/2015
    09:30am — 11:30am

    Release the artist within you! Enhance your creativity and artistic confidence by turning off you...


  • Awaken Your Inner Artist: Drawing Workshop

    07/08/2015
    09:30am — 11:30am

    Release the artist within you! Enhance your creativity and artistic confidence by turning off you...


  • Gentle Yoga

    07/08/2015
    05:00pm — 06:00pm

    Reduce the aches and pains of age by increasing your range of motion through the practice of yoga...


  • Hatha Yoga

    07/08/2015
    06:30pm — 07:30pm

    This series of vigorous exercises is designed to strengthen the body and increase flexibility whi...


  • Sunday Brunch

    07/09/2015
    11:00am — 02:00pm

    Every Sunday from 11-2PM Continental Buffet, Waffle bar, fresh fruits, Mimosa, Bloody Mary an...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    07/09/2015
    06:00pm — 07:00pm

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • West Chester Applebee’s, located at 1107 W Chester Pike is hosting a bake sale July 10 through Ju...


  • Sunday Brunch

    07/10/2015
    11:00am — 02:00pm

    Every Sunday from 11-2PM Continental Buffet, Waffle bar, fresh fruits, Mimosa, Bloody Mary an...


  • Evil Dead: The Musical

    07/10/2015
    08:00pm

    Bootless returns for a fourth round of Ash-Kicking! Five college students spend the weekend in ...


  • Friday Night Lights

    07/10/2015
    08:00pm — 11:00pm

    Natural Lands Trust's popular adults-only event returns for the fifth year! Enjoy a relaxing even...


  • How Not to Kill Your Tree

    07/11/2015
    09:00am — 11:00am

    Every tree is a masterpiece of form, function, and value. This homeowner-friendly workshop presen...


  • The Chester Springs Studio wood kiln is a two chamber noborigama, constructed in 2014 during a wo...


  • Second Saturdays

    07/11/2015
    10:00am — 04:00pm

    Join us on the Second Saturday of each month for special programming in our native plant gardens....


  • Sunday Brunch

    07/11/2015
    11:00am — 02:00pm

    Every Sunday from 11-2PM Continental Buffet, Waffle bar, fresh fruits, Mimosa, Bloody Mary an...


  • Evil Dead: The Musical

    07/11/2015
    08:00pm

    Bootless returns for a fourth round of Ash-Kicking! Five college students spend the weekend in ...


  • The Chester Springs Studio wood kiln is a two chamber noborigama, constructed in 2014 during a wo...


  • Half the Money, all the bottle. Every Tuesday

    07/12/2015
    11:00am — 09:00pm

    EVERY TUESDAY ‎Half the money, all the bottle.1/2 Price Bottle of Wine / Every Tuesday with your...


  • Save Our Monarchs

    07/12/2015
    12:30pm — 03:30pm

    Monarch butterfly numbers have declined more than 90% over the past 20 years. Habitat destruction...


  • Taste Kennett Food Tours

    07/12/2015
    01:00pm — 04:00pm

    Taste Kennett Food Tours, creators of memorable, unique and fun food experiences, offer three-hou...


  • Taste Kennett Food Tours

    07/12/2015
    01:00pm — 04:00pm

    Taste Kennett Food Tours, creators of memorable, unique and fun food experiences, offer three-hou...


  • Half the Money, all the bottle. Every Tuesday

    07/13/2015
    11:00am — 09:00pm

    EVERY TUESDAY ‎Half the money, all the bottle.1/2 Price Bottle of Wine / Every Tuesday with your...


  • Monday's are Whiskey nights at Minihane's

    07/13/2015
    05:00pm — 11:00pm

    Whisky is not the same as Whiskey! There is some debate about whether or not Scottish distill...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    07/13/2015
    06:00pm — 07:00pm

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • Half the Money, all the bottle. Every Tuesday

    07/14/2015
    11:00am — 09:00pm

    EVERY TUESDAY ‎Half the money, all the bottle.1/2 Price Bottle of Wine / Every Tuesday with your...


  • Fitness Walks

    07/15/2015
    08:30am — 09:30am

    Turn off the treadmill and forget the gym! Start your day with an invigorating hour-long hike thr...


  • Native Plants of Summer

    07/15/2015
    09:30am — 11:30am

    When the exuberant spring wildflower display is over, summer challenges us to find eye-catching p...


  • Awaken Your Inner Artist: Drawing Workshop

    07/15/2015
    09:30am — 11:30am

    Release the artist within you! Enhance your creativity and artistic confidence by turning off you...


  • Awaken Your Inner Artist: Drawing Workshop

    07/15/2015
    09:30am — 11:30am

    Release the artist within you! Enhance your creativity and artistic confidence by turning off you...


  • Gentle Yoga

    07/15/2015
    05:00pm — 06:00pm

    Reduce the aches and pains of age by increasing your range of motion through the practice of yoga...


  • Hatha Yoga

    07/15/2015
    06:30pm — 07:30pm

    This series of vigorous exercises is designed to strengthen the body and increase flexibility whi...


  • Sunday Brunch

    07/16/2015
    11:00am — 02:00pm

    Every Sunday from 11-2PM Continental Buffet, Waffle bar, fresh fruits, Mimosa, Bloody Mary an...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    07/16/2015
    06:00pm — 07:00pm

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • Sunday Brunch

    07/17/2015
    11:00am — 02:00pm

    Every Sunday from 11-2PM Continental Buffet, Waffle bar, fresh fruits, Mimosa, Bloody Mary an...


  • Evil Dead: The Musical

    07/17/2015
    08:00pm

    Bootless returns for a fourth round of Ash-Kicking! Five college students spend the weekend in ...


  • The Chester Springs Studio wood kiln is a two chamber noborigama, constructed in 2014 during a wo...


  • Sunday Brunch

    07/18/2015
    11:00am — 02:00pm

    Every Sunday from 11-2PM Continental Buffet, Waffle bar, fresh fruits, Mimosa, Bloody Mary an...


  • Civil War Brass Band Concert

    07/18/2015
    05:00pm

    On Saturday, July 18th the Mill at Anselma Preservation & Education Trust will present a concert ...


  • Evil Dead: The Musical

    07/18/2015
    08:00pm

    Bootless returns for a fourth round of Ash-Kicking! Five college students spend the weekend in ...


  • Integrated Pest Management

    07/18/2015
    08:30am — 05:00pm

    Every garden is home to a host of life. Unfortunately, some of these six- and eight-legged arthro...


  • The Chester Springs Studio wood kiln is a two chamber noborigama, constructed in 2014 during a wo...


  • Half the Money, all the bottle. Every Tuesday

    07/19/2015
    11:00am — 09:00pm

    EVERY TUESDAY ‎Half the money, all the bottle.1/2 Price Bottle of Wine / Every Tuesday with your...


  • Milburn Orchards Sundae Sunday

    07/19/2015
    12:00pm — 05:00pm

    Celebrate National Ice Cream Day at Milburn's on 7/19 with FREE face painting from 12-3pm, plus a...


  • Taste Kennett Food Tours

    07/19/2015
    01:00pm — 04:00pm

    Taste Kennett Food Tours, creators of memorable, unique and fun food experiences, offer three-hou...


  • Taste Kennett Food Tours

    07/19/2015
    01:00pm — 04:00pm

    Taste Kennett Food Tours, creators of memorable, unique and fun food experiences, offer three-hou...


  • Life in the 1860s Weekend

    07/19/2015
    10:00am — 04:00pm

    How did people dress and live in the 1860s? What was it like to be a miller at this time? Come ou...


  • Vacation Bible School

    07/20/2015
    09:00am — 12:00pm

    Vacation Bible School will be held July 20-24, 2015, 9 am until noon at The United Church of Chr...


  • Half the Money, all the bottle. Every Tuesday

    07/20/2015
    11:00am — 09:00pm

    EVERY TUESDAY ‎Half the money, all the bottle.1/2 Price Bottle of Wine / Every Tuesday with your...


  • Glee Club Camp

    07/20/2015
    01:00pm — 03:00pm

    A half day Glee Camp for ages 7-14! Have fun singing and dancing to popular new songs! Small perf...


  • Monday's are Whiskey nights at Minihane's

    07/20/2015
    05:00pm — 11:00pm

    Whisky is not the same as Whiskey! There is some debate about whether or not Scottish distill...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    07/20/2015
    06:00pm — 07:00pm

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • Half the Money, all the bottle. Every Tuesday

    07/21/2015
    11:00am — 09:00pm

    EVERY TUESDAY ‎Half the money, all the bottle.1/2 Price Bottle of Wine / Every Tuesday with your...


  • Glee Club Camp

    07/21/2015
    01:00pm — 03:00pm

    A half day Glee Camp for ages 7-14! Have fun singing and dancing to popular new songs! Small perf...


  • The Spayed Club now has THREE transport locations throughout the Greater Philadelphia area -- Pot...


  • Fitness Walks

    07/22/2015
    08:30am — 09:30am

    Turn off the treadmill and forget the gym! Start your day with an invigorating hour-long hike thr...


  • Native Plants of Summer

    07/22/2015
    09:30am — 11:30am

    When the exuberant spring wildflower display is over, summer challenges us to find eye-catching p...


  • Glee Club Camp

    07/22/2015
    01:00pm — 03:00pm

    A half day Glee Camp for ages 7-14! Have fun singing and dancing to popular new songs! Small perf...


  • Awaken Your Inner Artist: Drawing Workshop

    07/22/2015
    09:30am — 11:30am

    Release the artist within you! Enhance your creativity and artistic confidence by turning off you...


  • Gentle Yoga

    07/22/2015
    05:00pm — 06:00pm

    Reduce the aches and pains of age by increasing your range of motion through the practice of yoga...


  • Hatha Yoga

    07/22/2015
    06:30pm — 07:30pm

    This series of vigorous exercises is designed to strengthen the body and increase flexibility whi...


  • Sunday Brunch

    07/23/2015
    11:00am — 02:00pm

    Every Sunday from 11-2PM Continental Buffet, Waffle bar, fresh fruits, Mimosa, Bloody Mary an...


  • Glee Club Camp

    07/23/2015
    01:00pm — 03:00pm

    A half day Glee Camp for ages 7-14! Have fun singing and dancing to popular new songs! Small perf...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    07/23/2015
    06:00pm — 07:00pm

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


Chester County High School Sports