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DLC's Storm Plan

We’re not just keeping your lights on, we’re keeping your life on. Duquesne Light Company's (DLC) comprehensive Storm Plan allows us to quickly mobilize personnel and equipment to respond to storm damage. As soon as it becomes evident that a major storm is approaching, the following actions start immediately.

  • DLC's Storm Team is activated.
  • Administrative and field personnel are alerted to begin planning for crew reassignments and additional support staff.
  • Supplies are checked and additional materials are secured.
While personnel at the Operations Center are directing the power restoration efforts, DLC personnel at the Company's Customer Call Center are answering the phones and web notifications around-the-clock to collect outage reports from customers and relay information to the Operations Center. 

Storm Headquarters

DLC's response to all power outages is coordinated at our Distribution Operations
Center (DOC), which is staffed 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, to coordinate work on our system and respond to power outages. During a major event, the DOC serves as the Company's Storm Headquarters, or the central location where the Company's power restoration activities are coordinated. DLC crews can usually begin restoring outages while a storm is still in progress. However, during severe storms, it may take several hours after the storm subsides before damage reports can be analyzed and prioritized. 

The DOC Storm Team is responsible for:
  • Monitoring the weather, including the threat of additional storms
  • Performing remote switching by computer to clear circuits for repair work and then return them to service when work is completed
  • Compiling and assessing damage information
  • Dispatching field investigators, referred to as Troubleshooters, who provide initial damage reports
  • Coordinating crew movements, including tree removal crews that often must remove trees and tree limbs before line crews can replace wires and equipment
  • Supplementing the Company's workforce as needed. Depending on the severity of the damage, DLC also can call upon crews from neighboring utilities throughout the region for assistance as part of the industry's mutual assistance agreement
  • Activating and organizing corporate technical and administrative support
  • Serving as the focal point of information for the news media, emergency personnel, major customers, and all others who need to receive restoration information

Service Restoration

The time it takes to restore service depends on the extent and nature of the damage. After a major storm, thousands of streets may be without power and rebuilding the electrical infrastructure is time consuming and dangerous. Trouble shooters, who specialize in power restoration, perform initial assessments of damage. These investigators, who circulate throughout the Company's service area, are able to complete basic repairs and provide detailed damage information to DOC personnel. The DOC and district personnel use this information to assign repair crews. Visit Restoration Priorities for information on how we assign repair work.

Severe Storm Preparation

Taking steps to be prepared for a weather emergency can save valuable time when a severe storm occurs. Stay advised of a storm's progress by monitoring the weather on the radio, television or Internet. 

Storm Terms

Storm Watch - A watch means that weather conditions are favorable for a major storm to form.
Storm Warning - A warning means there is immediate danger of severe weather.

Basic Preparation Information

The following is basic information to help you become better prepared. Web sites such as the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency provide detailed information and checklists for preparing for major weather emergencies.
  • Identify a safe place in the house and make sure all family members, especially children, know to go there in the event of a severe weather warning.
  • If you live in a house, the safest place in the event of a severe storm with high winds and tornado warnings is on the lowest level, preferably the basement. Choose a small room away from windows, such as a closet, hallway or bathroom. Stay near the center of the house to put as many walls as possible between you and high winds. Close any doors in the room. If the safest room is the first floor bathroom, take a mattress or some cushions and get in a bathtub putting the mattress or cushions over your head for protection.
  • If you live in a mobile home, identify a nearby shelter to go to in the event of a severe weather threat. If a tornado warning is sounded, get out immediately and go to a nearby shelter or the basement of a nearby building. If there is no time to get to a shelter, lie flat in a ditch, culvert or other low-lying area and cover your head with your arms and hands. Do not try to flee a tornado in a vehicle.
  • If you are caught outdoors, hurry to the basement of a nearby sturdy structure or building or lie flat in a ditch, culvert or low-lying area and cover your head with your arms and hands. Do not remain in a vehicle during high winds or a tornado. Immediately get out and lie flat in the lowest nearby area, protecting your head with your arms and hands.
  • Conduct periodic drills, so everyone remembers what to do when severe weather is approaching. Stress the importance of staying calm.
  • Keep a full tank of gas in your vehicle, especially during storm seasons.
  • Review DLC's Power Outage Tips for further information on being prepared for a power outage.

Before a Power Outage

  • Make sure there are flashlights, a battery-powered radio and fresh batteries in an easily accessible area.
  • Periodically, check supplies of non-perishable foods, bottled water and medication. Try to keep a three-day supply on hand. Stock up if needed.
  • Check medications that require refrigeration to be sure you know if they will be affected by a prolonged interruption of power. Consult a doctor or pharmacist if you're not sure. You may want to keep a small cooler handy to use for special medication.
  • Always have a first-aid kit with current supplies in a convenient location.
  • In winter, have an alternate source of heating available, along with extra fuel, such as wood for wood-burning stoves and fireplaces
  • Remember that cordless phones won't work when the power goes out. Have at least one cord phone or cell phone available for use during power outages.
  • Know how to manually operate your garage door. If power is lost, your garage door opener will not work.
  • Use surge suppressors to protect sensitive electronic equipment, such as computers. If you are home during a severe storm, you may want to unplug sensitive equipment.
  • Be prepared to cook outside on a grill or camp stove. Never bring a grill indoors. Without proper ventilation, grills can be deadly.
  • If it appears that a storm is imminent, take these steps.
  • Fill a tub and spare containers with water in the event the electric water pump or the municipal water system becomes unavailable.
  • Check to ensure that elderly family members or friends who live alone are prepared for the weather.
  • Unplug sensitive equipment.

During a Power Outage

  • Report a power outage to DLC by calling 412-393-7000
  • Immediately report any power line hazards to DLC.
  • Do not touch downed or hanging power lines or anything touching them. Visit Downed Power Lines for more information.
  • Monitor the status of power restoration activities on local radio stations.
  • Avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer. Food will stay frozen in a fully loaded freezer for 36 to 48 hours if the doors remain closed. If the freezer is half full, the food will generally keep 24 hours. See Food Safety Tips for information on specific food items.
  • Keep candles away from furniture, draperies and other flammable materials. Also, keep children and pets away from open flames.
  • Disconnect or turn off appliances that were on when the power outage occurred. Leave a light on so you will know when power is restored.
  • Use space heaters only in well ventilated areas.
  • Use a camp stove, fireplace or can of sterno for cooking. Don't use charcoal or any other fuels in unventilated areas.
  • If you leave your home while the power is out, double-check that all heat producing appliances, such as stoves, irons and curling irons are unplugged.
  • If there is severe damage and it appears that the outage will last an extended period of time, consider moving to an alternate location.
If you use a generator use extreme caution and follow these safety guidelines.
  • Consult a licensed electrician to select the right generator for your situation. Make sure that the generator meets national and local electrical safety code requirements.
  • Make sure the generator is in a well-ventilated area to reduce the risk of breathing harmful fumes.
  • Never connect the generator's electrical output to any home or building electrical circuits.
  • If the generator is connected to a breaker panel or fuse box, turn off or disconnect the main breaker to the house while you are using the generator.
  • Never plug a generator into a wall outlet.
  • Plug appliances directly into the generator.
  • Avoid contact with bare wires and terminals.
  • Always use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) in any damp or highly conductive areas.

After a Power Outage

  • Make sure there are flashlights, a battery-powered radio and fresh batteries in an easily accessible area.
  • Periodically, check supplies of non-perishable foods, bottled water and medication. Try to keep a three-day supply on hand. Stock up if needed.

Planned Outage

Home Entry & Access: 

  • If you typically use a garage door opener, make sure you take a house key to regain entry into your home, in the event that your service is still out when you return. Know how to manually operate your garage door. If power is lost, your garage door opener will not work.
  • If your home has a security system, consult your owner's manual or contact the service you subscribe to, if applicable. You may need to disengage the system before or while your service is interrupted.

Electronic Equipment:

  • Use surge suppressors to protect sensitive electronic equipment, such as computers. If possible, it is recommended to unplug all sensitive equipment before any planned outages. If you forget to do so, unplug the equipment before your service is restored; however, we recommend consulting the appliances' owner's manual.
  • If you leave your home while the power is out, double-check that all heat producing appliances, such as stoves, irons and curling irons are unplugged.
  • Make sure you have flashlights, a battery-powered radio and fresh batteries in an easily accessible area.

Medication, Foods & Other Supplies:

  • Check medications that require refrigeration to be sure you know if they will be affected by a prolonged interruption of power. Consult a doctor or pharmacist if you're not sure. You may want to keep a small cooler handy to use for special medication.
  • Always have a first-aid kit with current supplies in a convenient location.
  • Avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer. Food will stay frozen in a fully loaded freezer for 36 to 48 hours if the doors remain closed. If the freezer is half full, the food will generally keep 24 hours. See Food Safety Tips for information on specific food items.
  • Remember that cordless phones won't work when the power goes out. Have at least one cord phone or cell phone available for use during power outages.
  • Periodically, check supplies of non-perishable foods, bottled water and medication. Stock up if needed.

We Don’t Just Power Your Lights,
We Power The Moments You Call Life.

One More Reason We’re Larger Than Light.