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Efforts to return power still underway

November 19, 2018 News Extra

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Updated 12:30 p.m. to reflect updated information.

A significant number of Butler County's residents continue to go without power Monday morning after last week's combination of ice, rain and wind left many without electricity — with Central Electric Cooperative reporting almost 3,200 powerless customers and West Penn Power has nearly 6,500 customers impacted.

Ken Maleski, manager of communications for Central Electric Cooperative, said Monday morning that “Eleven crews from outside cooperatives are assisting our own (nine) Central Electric crews. Every substation that has reported outages has a crew assigned to it.”

His said 3,200 customers in Butler County remain without power, but he couldn't say when all customers will have electric service restored.

“Outage restoration is on a day-by-day basis. We are not going to have full restoration Monday,” said Maleski. “I understand people have been without power since Thursday. I hope everybody will have patience.”

Maleski said the widespread damage from Thursday's snow and ice have made restoration work slow.

Downed tree limbs and whole trees with power lines under them have complicated recovery efforts.

“Every crew has a tree-trimming contractor assigned to them,” he said.

“You know, expect the worst, hope for the best,” Maleski said. “I suspect that with the additional crews we're going to knock those numbers down a lot.”

The storm that arrived on Nov. 15 also hit the company's 9 substations in the county. But now with all of the stations restored, Maleski said the crews will have a better idea of where their efforts should be through a method called “pinging.”

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