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It’s a Mess Out There

It’s a mess out there. Tell you something you didn’t know? We’ll try. PECO is already calling today’s storm that brought mostly ice and freezing rain to these parts (north and west of Philly) “the second most damaging storm in PECO history.”

As of 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, more than 623,000 customers remain without service, said a PECO press statement. And Montgomery County leads the pack with almost 190,000 households without power.
PECO has more than 300,000 customers in Montco (not all county residents are PECO customers), so the bulk of them are waiting to get the lights turned back on. Not to mention the heat, internet and cable TV – you can’t blame PECO for everything!

More than 3,000 personnel, including 1,500 field employees, are working to restore service and will continue to work around the clock to make repairs, said PECO. “With damage still occurring, it is too early to determine when service will be restored to all customers. Based on the conditions and damages so far, we believe we will be able to restore service to most customers in the next few days. However, some customers – in more heavily damaged areas – could be without service into the weekend.” Translation: keep your fingers crossed

According to the utility company, customers who experience an outage or issue with their natural gas service should call the company immediately at 1-800-841-4141. And the more customers who call to report an outage, the more effectively they can dispatch crews and restore service. Customers also can report or view the status of an electric outage at www.peco.com or by using PECO Smart Mobile On-the-Go, the company’s mobile enhanced website.

A whirlwind tour of parts of Cheltenham Ttownship late this morning found extensive damage to trees and electrical wires, making some roads impassable (most of them already cordoned off by the township), traffic lights listless, businesses closed (but far from all), township and other truck crews cutting downed tree limbs and a few pedestrians, mostly out to walk their dogs. The dogs, at least, seemed in good spirits.

Patty Peet of Hewett Road also was staying positive. “It’s very pretty . . . but a lot of people are miserable,” she conceded. She then pointed a reporter to a welter of power lines draped over cars parked in home driveways down on her block off of N. Bent Road near Thomas Rogers Park.

Rices Mill Road from Church Road toward Cheltenham High School was closed off. So was Chelten Drive (a perennial victim during storms) from Church to Glenview. Greenwood Ave. was out from Church at least part way to Glenside Ave. Downed wires were sitting at the intersection of Waverly and Rices Mill Roads. A tree was down at Waverly and Hewett Roads. Paxson Ave. off of Glenside Ave. was closed. One piece of good news: the traffic signal on Glenside Ave. and Rices Mill was functioning! All in all, though, it seems safe to say that Wyncote took it on the chin.

Better still, the Glenside Business District was gleaming with electricity, although crowds of shoppers were not common on this day. Whether Glenside neighborhoods fared as well as the commercial district is unclear. (Anybody?) The power was on at Brookdale Ave., according to a pedestrian.

Heading toward Elkins Park on Church Road things were OK, except for a tree taking wires down with it near Pardee Street.

A quick survey of traffic signals found dysfunction at: Church and Washington Lane; and Old York Road and Meetinghouse Road, Township Line Road and opposite the Pavilion shopping center. The light at Church and High School Roads was also out.

At first glance, it looked like the Elkins Park (East) Business District was on the beam, but there was an outdoor light on at the corner of High School and Park that offered false hope as most of the establishments near the train station were closed, including Creekside Co-op. However, Alexander’s Restaurant appeared to be in gear with a sign posted that it would open up for dinner at 5 p.m. Also, bagels and such were plentiful at Rolling’s Bakery and Hanley Antiques was open. Heading up Montgomery Ave., the guys at Frank’s Pizza seemed oblivious to the fact that they had a modest monopoly on slices and sandwiches. Heading back on Church to Township Line Road, the Dunkin Donuts and Sunoco Station seemed in good form.

The bad news was that Elkins Park and Melrose Park seemed without much oomph. Cheltenham Village the same.

Township libraries were closed, causing some locals hungry for an internet connection, or maybe just a warm seat, to growl with disappointment (an eyewitness account). An informal report had some but not all the facilities without power.

Meanwhile, this just in: Montgomery County is opening at Red Cross Warming Center at Cheltenham High School, 500 Rices Mill Road in Wyncote by 7 p.m. tonight.

The Cheltenham school district will be closed Thursday “due to widespread power outages and hazardous conditions throughout Cheltenham.” All CLASP sites also are closed. The township administration building reportedly functioned on a generator today.

Cheltenham Township has announced that refuse and recycling collection has been delayed a second day. Route B (usually Tuesday) will be collected on Thursday; Route C (usually Wednesday) will be collected on Friday; and Route D (usually Thursday) will be collected on Saturday, Feb. 8.

PECO urges customers to stay safe and always stay away from any storm damaged electrical equipment, especially downed power lines and tree limbs that may come into contact with power lines. Always consider that downed electrical wires are energized and report them to the company immediately, says the company.

Power’s out with the library closing. Gotta go.

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  1. A. Cohen

    Cheltenham Township web site says trash pickup cancelled for remainder of week.

  2. Dottie Baumgarten

    Thank you for the update.
    I’m a Glenside resident, just a block from the business district and we have power.

  3. Janet Benton

    Thank you!