Utility working very closely with state and local officials including emergency management agencies to address public safety such as traffic signals without power and other issues of concern
Utility exercising balanced approach to restoring service to those customers without power
BALTIMORE, Aug. 29, 2011 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that it has restored electric service to 58 percent of the more than 700,000 customers who experienced outages during and following Hurricane Irene. The utility remains on track to continue making significant progress overnight and tomorrow and expects service to the vast majority of customers currently without power to be restored no later than late Friday, with the possibility that there could be isolated and scattered outages extending into Saturday. The utility is balancing its restoration efforts to ensure field personnel are simultaneously addressing outages in each and every county and city where BGE has customers. Customers are reminded to stay informed on restoration progress via www.bge.com, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.
“BGE has been working, and will continue to work around-the-clock to restore service to its customers,” said A. Christopher Burton, senior vice president of gas and electric operations and planning. “As part of its response, BGE is working very closely with state and local emergency management agencies and communicating with local and elected officials to ensure they stay informed of BGE’s progress. BGE’s balanced approach to restoring electric service prioritizes outages affecting public safety and critical infrastructure in all parts of its service area, however, the backbone of the utility’s electric distribution system, its 33 kilovolt power lines, which supply power to substations, sustained significant damage from Hurricane Irene. Those lines must be repaired or replaced before any of the equipment downstream can be repaired. As a result, outage durations have been extended for some customers.”
This continues to be a mammoth restoration effort involving more than 3,800 people, including approximately 1,400 from out-of-state, many of which were in Maryland at the request of BGE, days before hurricane Irene impacted its Central Maryland service area, which enabled the utility to begin restoring electric service as soon as it was safe to do so. Thus far, the utility has responded to more than 5,000 reports of downed wires and handled nearly 947,000 customer calls as a result of the extremely damaging storm.
Although BGE continues to make steady progress in restoring service to customers, the saturated ground and trees weakened by the hurricane’s high wind, could cause new outages in the days and weeks to come.
“While there is no need for customers to report an outage more than once, customers who experience new outages or see downed wires should report them by calling 1-877-778-2222,” said Jeannette M. Mills, senior vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. “Reporting new outages is extremely important because it helps the utility determine the size and scope of the problem. As a reminder, BGE no longer distributes dry ice, a decision made by BGE following Hurricane Isabel in 2003. This allows BGE to fully devote its attention and resources to the restoration effort.”
As always, restoration priorities are public safety matters such as downed wires and critical infrastructure which includes 911 centers, service restored in a way that hospitals, and water treatment facilities. Once these issues have been addressed, field assignments will be prioritized in order to restore service to the greatest number of customers at a time. Consideration will also be given to customers who have been out of service the longest.
As a reminder, BGE customers who may be elderly, handicapped or dependent on electricity for medical equipment who are still without power, may want to consider relocating to an alternate location until power is restored. These customers are always encouraged to have alternate arrangements in place should they experience a power outage. Customers using a generator should follow manufacturer instructions and be sure to locate generators in well-ventilated areas. For more information, go to www.bge.com.
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.