Crews from Pennsylvania's rural electric cooperatives are helping with efforts to restore power to customers in Virginia and Ohio after severe storms over the weekend knocked out electricity to thousands of customers.
As of Tuesday morning, more than 276,000 customers were without electricity in Virginia. About 10,000 remained without power in Ohio.
The 13 electric co-ops in Pennsylvania sent 18 two-man crews, mainly to Ohio and Virginia, said Rick Eichelberger, general manager and CEO of New Enterprise Rural Electric Cooperative.
"We didn't send anybody because of our size. We are the smallest cooperative in the state," Eichelberger said.
However, Bedford Rural Electric Cooperative, Valley Rural Electric and REA Energy Cooperative did send help.
"We sent a crew and a bucket truck to Marietta, Ohio, and a crew and a digger truck to Winchester, Va.," said Brooks Shoemaker, general manager of Bedford Rural Electric Cooperative.
The cooperatives are more than happy to assist.
"That is the cooperative spirit, that is one of the strengths of the cooperative system. We all help our sister co-ops when they need a hand. We are glad we can help," Shoemaker said. "We know that someday the shoe will be on the other foot."
Valley Rural Electric sent three two-man crews - one from each of its three districts in Martinsburg, Huntingdon and Shade Gap - to the Winchester District of Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative.
"We also sent two bucket trucks and a digger truck. They left Monday and we anticipate they will be there through the end of the week. There are lots of broken poles and wires down in the area," said Susan Penning, Valley Rural Electric director of member services.
REA Energy Cooperative sent four linemen - two from the Indiana headquarters office and two from the Ebensburg district office - to assist Shenandoah Valley Rural Electric Cooperative.
No local Penelec crews have been sent to aid with the restoration efforts, said spokesman Scott Surgeoner of FirstEnergy Corp., Penelec's parent company.