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Southern Lehigh Voices Anger Over 'False Hope' from PPL

Customers who remain without power from the Lehigh Valley to the Poconos are venting their frustration via social media.

Although weather forecasters warned last week that Hurricane Sandy's high winds could result in the blackout that has now lasted for close to four days in some parts of the area is causing confusion and frustration for many local residents who remain in the dark.

That is evident on PPL's Facebook page, where the utility has been posting frequent updates about progress on its restoration efforts for customers in a 29-county area that includes the Lehigh Valley.

Locally, PPL's estimates for Southern Lehigh ranged from 11pm on Oct 31 to 11pm on Nov. 4.

And patience is wearing thin for some customers whose homes are growing colder by the hour.

In particular, electric customers are voicing growing anger over incorrect "ERTs" (estimated restoration times) that PPL has been providing via its Outage Center.

"Why can't they just tell you the truth," asked Upper Saucon Patch reader Kathleen Lumpkin on the Upper Saucon Patch Facebook page. "Rather than getting your hopes up -- only to have another let down?"

"No excuse to have ours postponed each night for 2 in a row now," wrote Justin Adam Burkhardt on the PPL Facebook page. "It's either lies, appeasement or false hope or incompetence. We are freezing and waiting still in fountain hill!"

Added Sonia Carballo on the same thread: "When you issue out ERTs people think its an exact time (give an hour or two). Don't give out ERTs until workers get there an assess the situation. You're only upsetting people!"

Some customers, however, defended the utillity company for working around the clock to restore power to hundreds of thousands in the aftermath of the historic storm.

"C'mon PPL.... You can do it... Thank you for all your hard work.. Keep it up," said Upper Saucon Patch reader Maria Spinosa on the Upper Saucon Patch Facebook page. "We're down on Oakhurst patiently waiting.. If we see you, we'll get you some coffee or something... You're doing it, boys!" Spinosa's comment received seven Facebook likes. 

How would you rate PPL's post-storm response so far? Are you frustrated with the information the company has provided, or with a lack thereof? Tell us in the comments.

qflux November 04, 2012 at 03:18 PM
its funny how many people are harder on the people complaining than they are on the billion dollar monopoly. im sure the CEOs multi million dollar mansion in Weyhill is warm and cozy with no outage. im also sure rates will only go up and theyll be no credits. the power company isnt your friend, its a billion dollar business. only a sap would cut them slack, sorry. its nice to give a kind word to the hard working lineman, but that doesnt change the fact that a huge profit engine like PPL should be held to a high standard by the customers paying hundreds every month. to the guy that said "go to a shelter"... are you a ppl employee? are YOU currently at a red cross shelter? ever actually been to one? i have... i wouldnt wish that on u despite your idiot comment. this storm did NOT hit PA that hard and PPL pulls this crap even when there is an inch of snow because they spend not a dime proactively on upgrades or preparation but pay a nice 7 figures to executives.
Jennifer Moyer November 04, 2012 at 05:48 PM
The severity of the outage situation is a function of design and maintenance of the electrical distribution system, not just storm severity. My humble opinion is that PPL has done a very poor job of designing and maintaining its system. No doubt unwise government legislation and PUC regulation in the form of distorted regulation incentives, mandates to carry an excessive number of non PPL (communication) wires, and distorted capital costs as a result of strange capital markets of recent years all contribute to the decay of electrical infrastructure and questionable vegatation management along PPL right of ways.
Jennifer Moyer November 04, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Dear qflux, I could not agree with you more! Thank you for taking the time to write your comments. Although the subject of monopolies is a complicated one, all lovers of free enterprise should be friends of government control of monopolies. Certainly, stronger PUC and state control of the distribution side of PPL should enacted. Unfortunately, PPL will beef up its political contributions and PR at the first sign of public reaction. Also, unfortunately, my answer is limited to increasing the capacity and readiness of emergency generation , but, for the public at large the answer is better regulation of the PPL distribution monopoly.
Jennifer Moyer November 04, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Electrical outages are a function of quality of design and maintenance, especially vegetation maintenance of the right of way. PPL distribution lines are approaching third world status...propaganda to the contrary.
Jennifer Moyer November 04, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Electrical outages are a function of quality of design and maintenance, especially vegetation maintenance of the right of way. PPL distribution lines are approaching third world status...propaganda to the contrary.

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