Warren County came out of Hurricane Sandy on Tuesday morning largely unscathed.
An estimated 1,500 residents countywide lost power overnight from the storm, with 122 outages in Triumph Township and 59 outages in Mead Township, Penelec spokesman Linda Routzahn said.
By mid-afternoon Tuesday that number was down to 247 residents without power, and Routzahn said Penelec was working to have power restored to all customers by the end of the evening.
Routzahn said crews worked in the storm to first make the conditions safe by handling downed power lines, then assess damage to establish restoration times for customers. Priority is given to customers such as local law enforcement, emergency management and hospitals, then crews work to fix problems that will restore power to the greatest number of customers at once, she said.
"In general you're going to go and fix the circuit that's going to get you back hundreds of customers, instead of one house," she said. "Our goal is by the end of the night we hope to be down to the single-customer level. We saw damage across the county."
Residents can visit www.firstenergycorp.com and click on current outages for safety information and to check the status of power outages in Warren County, Routzahn said.
There were nearly a dozen trees down from the storm and crews did respond to downed electrical wires, but otherwise "it was kind of intermittent," Warren County Public Safety Director Todd Lake said.
"People were quite vigilant and made sure they were ready for this," Lake said. "It was nice to see people out there filling their cars full of gas, buying batteries, buying water. They need to be vigilant of their own safety. It's nice to see we're getting the message out. They need to be thinking of those issues."
Access to gasoline during a long-term power outage was a major issue identified in a review of storm preparation, Lake said.
Only one gas station in the county, the Tidioute Trading Post, has a generator that could pump gasoline during a long-term power outage, Lake said.
The City of Warren and many townships and boroughs can fuel their equipment, but the Pennsylvania State Police, Conewango Township Police, and Youngsville Borough Police, among others purchase gasoline from locations owned by United Refining Co.
"Well, they wouldn't be able to do that," Lake said. "My concern is the lack of gasoline for our people that work at the hospital, nursing homes and even 911 dispatchers. If we were to have a major power outage, where are those people going to get gasoline?"
Lake said Emergency Management Services have begun to discuss the issue with United Refining and reminds residents to make sure their vehicles are prepared for winter.
"People need to be a little more proactive until we work through some of these issues," he said.