Customers impacted by the gas main break reminded that utility personnel must gain access to homes and businesses to turn gas off and before service can be restored later this week
Out-of-state resources to begin arriving this afternoon, bringing to nearly 200, the total number of BGE, contract and external resources assisting in this major natural gas event
BALTIMORE, Nov. 8, 2011 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that it is in the process of restoring natural gas service to approximately 100 customers on the west side of East Fort Ave., reducing the number of customers still affected by the gas main break, which occurred yesterday in the 1200 block, to roughly 900 customers. Additionally, BGE has requested assistance from neighboring utilities and expects additional resources from PECO and Philadelphia Gas Works to begin arriving this afternoon. Roughly 60 people from these two utilities will augment BGE resources in canvassing the affected area to gain access to the remaining homes and businesses that BGE was unable to access yesterday to turn off gas service. These external crews will also assist with turning the gas back on after repairs to the main have been completed. There are approximately 100 homes and businesses that BGE has been unable to access to turn off the gas. Should BGE be unsuccessful in gaining access to these homes and businesses by late this afternoon, the utility will work closely with the Baltimore City Police and Fire Departments and a local locksmith to gain entry and disconnect gas service.
“We recognize the inconvenience that this natural gas outage is causing the residents and businesses in the area and are working as quickly as possible to repair the main and restore service,” said Jeannette M. Mills, senior vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. “However, we cannot sacrifice the safety of the community and our crews. With that in mind, we remind customers who choose to use alternate heat sources during this gas outage to follow manufacturers’ instructions. The use of electric or propane space heaters and even wood fireplaces can have serious consequences when not used properly. BGE will continue to work very closely with residents, businesses, community association representatives and Baltimore City to ensure open and two-way communication, keeping our customers abreast of progress and addressing their concerns.”
Natural gas to all impacted customers must be turned off while repairs to the main are underway. Gas service cannot be restored to customers until gas service has first been shut off to these customers. This is because once the main is repaired and gas begins flowing again, individual customer gas lines must be manually opened in order to safely reintroduce gas into each property. This process is very labor and time intensive and requires cooperation from BGE customers to be done safely and efficiently. Given the large number of customers whose homes and businesses must be accessed twice (first to turn the gas off and second to turn the gas back on), combined with the closure of the Fort Avenue bridge, which is unrelated to the gas main break but impacts BGE’s work zone, BGE expects this work to continue for several days and advises customers who may be without gas service for the duration of this event to consider alternate arrangements.
While this work is ongoing, there may be a slight odor of gas in the community. However, BGE personnel will remain on scene for the duration of this event to ensure the safety of its customers and employees. Customers who smell gas should leave the premises immediately and then call BGE at 1-800-685-0123.
BGE, www.bge.com, headquartered in Baltimore, is Maryland’s largest gas and electric utility, delivering power to more than 1.2 million electric customers and more than 640,000 natural gas customers in Central Maryland. The company’s approximately 3,000 employees are committed to the safe and reliable delivery of gas and electricity, as well as enhanced energy management, conservation, environmental stewardship and community assistance. BGE is a subsidiary of Constellation Energy, www.constellation.com, a FORTUNE 500 company also headquartered in Baltimore, with subsidiaries that generate, sell and provide other energy-related services to customers throughout North America.