As the 2011 hurricane season approaches, the utility strongly encourages customers to take proactive steps to have a family emergency preparedness plan in place to protect their families and personal property in the event of severe weather, such as hurricanes, tornadoes or flooding
BALTIMORE, May 25, 2011 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) announced that it has taken proactive steps to prepare for the possibility of widespread power outages caused by severe and fast-moving storms, typical of hurricane season, which begins on June 1 and ends on Nov. 30. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently predicted that the Atlantic basin is expected to see an above-normal hurricane season this year. Hurricane impacts are not limited to the coastline; strong winds and flooding rainfall often pose a threat across inland areas, along with the risk for tornadoes. BGE strongly recommends that customers also take appropriate action now to ensure the safety of their families and to protect personal property in the event of severe weather. As the nation has recently been hit by severe weather events, including devastating tornadoes and flooding in states such as Alabama, Mississippi and Missouri, BGE encourages customers to create and review a family emergency preparedness plan, prior to a severe weather event.
“Public safety and customer service are top priorities at BGE, and we have dedicated thousands of employees, hundreds of pieces of equipment and a fleet of vehicles to respond to storm-related power outages affecting our 1.2 million electric customers,” said A. Christopher Burton, senior vice president of gas and electric operations and planning, BGE. “BGE is continually reviewing and updating its emergency procedures and resource availability, ensuring that we are always prepared to respond to widespread power outages as safely and as quickly as possible. In addition to training exercises which enable employees to test their readiness for storm duty and identify opportunities for improving or expanding their skill sets, BGE conducts a thorough review of its equipment and other resources in advance of hurricane season to ensure we are fully prepared to respond to severe weather events.”
Just as BGE prepares for severe weather and the possibility of power outages, customers should also be prepared and take steps to ensure the safety of their families and property during electric service interruptions. Customers should keep the following items readily available:
-Flashlights – not candles
-Battery operated clock radio
-Fully charged cell phone
Customers with special needs, such as those who may be elderly, handicapped or dependent on electricity for medical equipment, should have alternate arrangements in place should they experience an extended power outage. Customers using a generator or space heater should follow manufacturer instructions and be sure to locate generators in well-ventilated areas.
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. Additional important information on storm preparedness can be found in the Storm Safety section on bge.com.
The safety of BGE’s customers and employees is always the utility’s top priority. Customers are always reminded to stay away from downed power lines and to report them immediately by calling 1-410-685-0123. Power outages should be reported by calling BGE’s automated system at 1-877-778-2222. For more information about BGE storm preparation and how customers can protect their families and property, go to www.bge.com.
BGE's restoration priorities are public safety issues and critical facilities, such as 911 centers, hospitals and pumping stations. Then restoration is generally scheduled so that the greatest number of customers can be restored as quickly and as safely as possible. However, in cases of extended power outages, consideration is also given to customers who have been without service for the longest.
In the event of widespread outages from severe weather, customers can stay informed of restoration efforts via www.bge.com, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.
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.