Utility makes progress in restoring secondary power lines and associated equipment; public safety and critical facilities remain a priority
BGE also planning for additional storms expected to enter the service territory today; encourages customers to prepare as well
BALTIMORE, July 4, 2012 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that its nearly 4,000 field and support forces, including nearly 1,300 out-of-state utility workers, are making significant progress restoring electric service to customers supplied by secondary power lines and other equipment that could not safely be repaired until substations and main lines were repaired. While 85 percent of its customers, or approximately 580,000 customers, have been restored as of 7 this morning, the company still expects the restoration effort to continue through the weekend, as the remaining repairs – while complex and time consuming – will restore service to smaller pockets of customers. These efforts are in addition to the constant focus on outages affecting public safety and critical facilities, including 911 centers, hospitals and pumping stations.
“While a tremendous amount of progress has been made, we understand that customers still experiencing power outages are frustrated and concerned,” said Stephen J. Woerner, BGE senior vice president and chief operating officer. “In most cases, service to these remaining customers could not be restored until the main lines and other equipment upstream from their home or business were repaired. We ask for patience and understanding as our crews continue their tiring work near your homes and in your neighborhoods. The cause of your outage may not be directly on your street. Even if you don’t see crews working in your neighborhood, they may be repairing damage elsewhere in an effort to restore electricity to those in your community.”
In addition to restoring equipment damaged by last Friday’s weather system, BGE is preparing for the possibility of new outages resulting from an approaching severe weather system, expected to reach BGE’s central Maryland service territory today. BGE continues to participate in mutual assistance calls and request and receive assistance from out of state utility companies as it continues its preparation and restoration efforts.
“BGE will continue to keep customers informed of the progress being made during this extraordinary restoration effort as well as the potential for future outages,” said Woerner. “As part of this initiative, BGE is continually updating its website to reflect some of the general areas where crews are working today. In addition, our customer call center, which has been operating around-the-clock at higher staffing levels since the impact of Friday’s weather system, has fielded more than 1 million calls, which include more than 7,500 reports of downed wires. We’re grateful for these reports, as well as proud of the more than 900 BGE safety personnel engaged in evaluating the reports and protecting the public from accessing areas with downed wires. If you see a downed wire, please report it immediately by calling BGE at 1-877-778-2222.”
As part of BGE’s restoration efforts, many crews are operating in “pods,” meaning crews with different skill sets travel together for jobs that require complex work. In so doing, each crew begins its work as soon as the crew before them has completed their part of the job, resulting in the most efficient approach to restoration. To view some of the efforts of BGE and out-of-state crews as they work to restore power for BGE customers, visit BGE’s You Tube channel.
BGE’s balanced approach to service restoration ensures crews are working simultaneously in every jurisdiction where BGE has customers. This approach is in line with industry standards, which focus first on public safety and critical infrastructure issues, followed by work that will restore the largest number of customers at once, factoring in customers who have been without power the longest. As part of BGE’s standard process during major events, the company is in regular communication with state and local public and elected officials and emergency operations centers, helping to ensure a coordinated effort between the jurisdictions and the utility. BGE appreciates the assistance and cooperation of these officials and organizations.
Just as the company continues to prepare for summer storms, customers should plan ahead by keeping the following items readily available:
Flashlights – not candles
Battery operated clock radio
Fully charged cell phone
Customers also should consider filling the fuel tanks of their vehicles in the event a power outage affects service to neighborhood gas stations. For customers who rely on well water, filling a bathtub with water in advance of severe weather is strongly encouraged.
As a reminder, BGE customers who may be elderly, handicapped or dependent on electricity for medical equipment, should always have alternate arrangements in place should they experience an extended power outage. Customers using a generator should follow manufacturer instructions and be sure to locate generators in well-ventilated areas. For more information about BGE storm preparation and how customers can protect their families and property, go to bge.com. BGE, headquartered in Baltimore, is Maryland’s largest gas and electric utility, delivering power to more than 1.2 million electric customers and more than 650,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland. The company’s approximately 3,400 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 Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider with approximately $33 billion in annual revenues. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.