AKRON, Ohio, Oct. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As Hurricane Sandy unleashes its force along the east coast, approximately 7,500 FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) personnel, electrical contractors and outside utility resources are assisting FirstEnergy utilities in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Ohio with service restoration to customers who have lost power as a result of the powerful storm. Linemen, dispatchers, hazard responders, damage assessors, mechanics, supervisors and call center representatives are actively responding to reports of outages across FirstEnergy's service territory, particularly in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. Despite the additional resources, preliminary estimates indicate the possibility for lengthy outages in the storm's wake. Strong winds from Hurricane Sandy, coupled with high winds from a cold front moving in from the west, are expected to inflict catastrophic damage. While assessment of the damage by utility workers will be ongoing, the slow-moving nature of the storm will slow the process and hamper the conduct of restoration work. Restoration times will be updated as the severity of the storm's impact on the electrical system is determined. FirstEnergy customer call centers are fully staffed as Hurricane Sandy moves through. Customers without power are encouraged to call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report their outage or click the "Report Outage" link on www.firstenergycorp.com. Customers should immediately report downed wires to their electric company or local police or fire department. "Restoring power to all of our customers in an efficient fashion is our top priority during this dangerous storm, and we urge customers to remain safe as we work through the restoration process," said Steven E. Strah, vice president, Distribution Support, FirstEnergy. "High winds and heavy rains will make debris and flooding real hazards, not only throughout the storm's duration, but also in its aftermath. If lines are down, please stay well away until crews can arrive to make the area safe." The priority for restoration starts with emergency services, including hospitals, police, fire and first aid. Repairs are scheduled based on restoring the most people the fastest. During severe damage, it could take repairs in many locations to restore power to one location.