Customers asked to keep meters clear of snow and ice to avoid possible malfunction
BALTIMORE, Feb. 6, 2010 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE), a subsidiary of Constellation Energy (NYSE: CEG), today announced it has restored electric service to more than 51,000 customers since the winter storm began to impact Central Maryland Friday afternoon. However, the utility expects the number of customers without power to increase steadily as the wet, heavy snow and high wind continue to weigh down trees and tree limbs, bringing them down onto power lines and other electric equipment. The utility also urged customers to avoid gas and electric meters and attached equipment when clearing snow and to keep meters clear of snow and ice buildup to prevent the devices from malfunctioning and possibly interfering with service.
“BGE crews continue to work under extremely challenging conditions but have made good progress restoring some of our customers to service. However, this restoration effort will extend for at least the next several days as new outages continue to occur on our system,” said A. Christopher Burton, senior vice president of gas and electric operations and planning for BGE. “BGE’s field forces are driving in very hazardous conditions, extending their arrival times to outage locations. Once there, the restoration effort is complicated by large amounts of tree debris as well as snow and ice which must be addressed first, even before work begins to repair or replace damaged electric equipment. We truly appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding as we work through this very difficult storm.”
Approximately 850 BGE and contract personnel are actively engaged in the storm restoration process. Additionally, approximately 300 linemen and support staff from Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio are expected to arrive later today and begin assisting BGE with the restoration, bringing the total number of field and support resources to approximately 1,150.
It is far too early to determine when all customers will be restored to service. BGE is working very closely with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and local jurisdictions to ensure a coordinated effort.
To assist customers in managing extended outages, BGE reminds customers to keep the following items readily available:
* Flashlights – not candles
* Fresh batteries
* Battery operated clock radio
* Corded telephone
* Fully charged cell phone
* Non-perishable foods
Customers also should consider filling the fuel tanks of their vehicles in the event a power outage affects service to neighborhood gas stations. For our customers who rely on well water, filling a bathtub with water in advance of severe weather is strongly encouraged. Customers using a generator or space heater should follow manufacturer instructions and be sure to locate generators in well-ventilated areas.
Additionally, 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. 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.
Customers are reminded to always stay clear of downed wires and to call BGE at 1-877-778-2222 to report downed wires, power outages or any unsafe condition involving gas or electric delivery. For more information about BGE storm preparation and how customers can protect their families and property, go to www.bge.com <http://www.bge.com> .
In addition to monitoring current and approaching weather conditions which could result in service interruptions, BGE regularly conducts emergency training drills during which all aspects of storm related service restoration are tested. BGE also reviews its Electric Delivery Emergency Response Plan to ensure that storm response procedures are up-to-date and in line with industry standards.
BGE, www.bge.com <file:///C:\Documents%20and%20Settings\e48945\Local%20Settings\Temporary%20Internet%20Files\OLK9A\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 wholly-owned subsidiary of Constellation Energy, www.constellation.com <file:///C:\Documents%20and%20Settings\e48945\Local%20Settings\Temporary%20Internet%20Files\OLK9A\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.