MANSFIELD - Tri-County Rural Electric Cooperative line crews worked Monday night and Tuesday to restore power to more than 2,000 members who lost electric service as Hurricane Sandy stormed into the region, said Jeff Fetzer, the company's director of communications.
High winds and heavy rain caused numerous trees and limbs to fall onto electric lines, causing widespread outages throughout utility's service territory beginning shortly after noon Monday.
As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, the bulk of the outages were concentrated in the western part of the cooperative's service territory, particularly in areas served by its Austin and Germania substations in Potter County, and the Leidy substation in Clinton County.
The majority of members in those areas were expected to remain without power overnight.
In the co-op's eastern region, about 140 members in Bradford, Tioga and Lycoming counties remained without power, but power restoration work was expected to be completed by Tuesday evening.
Co-op officials project that power will be restored to all of its members by the end of today.
The first storm-related outage hit Tri-County's territory about 12:25 p.m. Monday and impacted about 76 members along Loucks Mill Road in Hector and Pike townships, Potter County.
By 10 p.m, outages were being reported in all five of the cooperative's service districts.
"We back fed to our customers in Liberty when we had our substation go down," Fetzer explained, "so technically we are still out of power in Liberty, even though those 1,000 or so customers have power."
Backfeeding means the power was re-routed to those customers through another substation in order to restore power while their substation is brought back up, Fetzer explained.
The highest concentration of outages was reported in the Coudersport district, where more than 1,500 homes were without power in areas served by Tri-County's Frank Lent substation near Coudersport, the Austin and Coneville substations and Elk Lick metering point.
In Lycoming County, outages were reported in the area served by the co-op's Leidy substation in Clinton County, where more than 600 members were without electricity.
Also experiencing high concentration of outages were areas served by the Germania substation in Potter County, Westfield substation in Tioga County and Bentley Creek substation in Bradford County.
Wellsboro Electric line crews were working to restore power to about 800 customers.
At the height of the storm, more than 1,800 customers were without service, according to Fetzer.
As of noon Tuesday, the highest concentration of outages remained in the Maple Hill and Marsh Creek areas.
Wellsboro Electric officials reported that some of the affected members were expected to remain without power overnight.
The utility secured additional crews from Asplundh Tree Experts and BNF Powerline Construction to assist with power restoration efforts.
Residents are urged to stay away from downed power lines. Fallen lines may still be energized and should not be touched. To report downed lines or outages, call Tri-County at 800-343-2559 or 800-343-2559.
Residents also should stay clear of electrical equipment located in standing water. If water is in contact with electrical outlets, appliances or cords in a flooded basement or other room, avoid stepping into or otherwise coming into contact with the water.
Additional information and outage updates can be found on Tri-County's Facebook page, which can be accessed through the cooperative's website at www.tri-countyrec.com.
A member-owned, non-profit utility, Tri-County provides electricity to more than 18,000 consumer-members in Bradford, Tioga, Potter, Lycoming, McKean and Clinton counties.