WPVI Brings Power To The People

The Philadelphia ABC O&O uses a news van and a mobile generator to offer power to electricity-starved area residents.

After countless hours of both emergency preparedness and live TV and Web coverage of Hurricane Sandy, ABC O&O WPVI Philadelphia (DMA 4) decided to offer its millions of viewers more than just news reports. On Thursday, Nov. 1, a a 6abc van with a two-person team and one mobile generator drove to towns without electricity and gave what they had to those who didn’t — power.

Now branded a “POWER by 6abc STATION,” the whisper-soft charging station was made up of a 500-amp generator with 60,000 watts of power with 25 20-amp circuits. Typically, this type of generator is used on movie and television production sets but was transformed quickly and effectively into a mobile charging station.

The WPVI team was able to provide relief to residents in the Farmbrook section of Levittown, Pa.; the Crabtree section of Levittown, Pa.; Lafayette Hill, Pa.; Ocean City, N.J.; and Ewing, N.J.

Overall, Hurricane Sandy knocked out power to more than 1.3 million Pennsylvanians (about 10% of the population), 2.7 million New Jersey residents and 2.2 million New Yorkers.

“We needed to find a way to help our viewers,” said WPVI VP-Director of Creative Services Michael Monsell. “The POWER by 6abc STATIONS gave phones and laptops a charge, but more importantly, it boosted morale. One young boy came out to play guitar for his neighbors while others just exchanged stories about their week. The sense of community that came from our charging stations was overwhelming.”

The station said it hopes to expand this service in the future should similar circumstances arise.


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