As the winds began to blow through the area on Sunday, February 24th, Northwestern REC employees readied for the impact. Outage reports began to come in from members as early as 12:30 pm on Sunday with all but 75 members being restored at 9:00 am. All available employees were out working through the day and night to clear downed trees and restore power to cooperative members with the help of tree crews from Hazlett Tree Service.
“It seemed like as soon as we restored an area, another outage came in,” said Bill Buchanan, President & CEO. “It was a long day and night for our employees. I am very proud of how our team worked together to restore power to our members as safely and efficiently as possible.”
Putting Northwestern REC’s high-tech electric grid to work resulted in avoiding outages for 6,289 members. Seven of Northwestern REC’s substations were affected by transmission service from First Energy-Penelec due to weather related problems. Co-op employees were able to reroute power and avoid outages for all but two of those substations. As a result, 4,006 members were affected by an outage from the storm.
Some members experienced some difficulty in getting through on the 800-352-0014 phone number to report their outage. “Peak weather conditions that affected our evening call center service impacted some members’ ability to report their outage within the desired wait-time we like to see,” noted Linda King, Vice President of Communications & Energy Solutions. Co-op Members can also report a power outage on their mobile device by using the SmartHub App. King continued, “SmartHub is a quick and easy way for members to not only report an outage without having to make a phone call, but to see the status of their outage, review their electric usage, pay their bill and more.”
Now through July 17th the Co-op is running a promotion for members that have signed up for their SmartHub login. One lucky member that has a SmartHub login will be selected by a random number generator on July 17th to win six months of free electric (not to exceed $712, which represents the average residential member bill times six).
Northwestern Rural Electric Cooperative is a distribution electric cooperative providing service to 20,000 members in Crawford, Erie, Warren, Venango and Mercer counties in Pennsylvania and Ashtabula County in Ohio.