Utility recognized for the second consecutive year for its commitment to emergency preparedness, safety and restoration efforts following severe weather conditions or natural events
BALTIMORE, March 21, 2012 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that it has been awarded the prestigious Edison Electric Institute (EEI) “Emergency Recovery Award” for the company’s restoration efforts following Hurricane Irene in 2011. This is the second consecutive year that BGE has received this award, which is presented annually to U.S. and foreign-based companies in recognition of outstanding efforts in restoring electric service following severe weather conditions or other natural events.
“BGE is extremely proud to accept this award for the second consecutive year from EEI,” said Kenneth W. DeFontes Jr., president and chief executive officer, BGE. “Over the past two years, BGE’s service territory has certainly experienced severe and damaging weather events that have tested our emergency preparedness plans and our employees’ response. Receiving this award two years in a row, and especially following one of the most damaging storms in BGE’s nearly 200-year history, truly is a testament to our employees’ commitment to safe, but aggressive, restoration efforts. BGE employees met the challenging conditions head-on, working around-the-clock until the last customer was restored. It is an honor to accept this award on behalf of BGE’s more than 3,000 dedicated employees. The success of our restoration efforts is also contingent upon effective communication with our customers, and we thank them as well for their understanding and patience throughout this challenging and damaging event.”
In late August 2011, BGE experienced one of the most damaging storms in its nearly 200-year history. Hurricane Irene brought high wind, wind gusts, heavy rain and severe flooding, causing whole trees and tree limbs to come down onto lines and other electric delivery equipment, resulting in widespread damage and extended outages. Electric service was interrupted to approximately 750,000 of BGE’s 1.2 million electric customers, some of whom lost power multiple times. The widespread storm also caused power outages to customers in 13 states along the East Coast. Notwithstanding the many customers who experienced extended outages, BGE successfully restored electric service to nearly 90 percent of its affected customers within five days of Hurricane Irene’s passing.
Well in advance of the storm, BGE began executing its emergency preparedness plan to ensure it could begin the anticipated monumental restoration effort as soon as it was safe to do so. Prior to the impact of the storm, BGE prepared crews and materials and proactively secured 750 additional out-of-state resources. Throughout restoration, more than 2,300 external resources from 18 states were actively engaged in the restoration effort. Assistance was provided by utility and contract employees from Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas. In total, 6,700 individuals were involved in the restoration effort. BGE employees, contractors and out-of-state mutual assistance crews worked approximately 690,000 man hours to restore electric service. In all, the utility replaced 138 miles of distribution line, 348 distribution poles and nearly 250 transformers.
BGE communicated with customers continuously prior to the storm and throughout the restoration process, providing around-the-clock information and maintaining a real-time dialogue with the help of social media (Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube), bge.com and the Customer Contact Center, where 250 representatives were available by phone and email 24 hours a day. BGE also proactively reached out to all 1.2 million of its electric customers days in advance of the storm, advising them to be prepared for the potential storm and the likelihood that the storm was expected to result in power outages that would require a restoration effort extending over multiple days. In addition, BGE also reached out an additional time to customers identified as having special needs to remind them to have alternate arrangements in place should they experience an extended outage.
“Hurricane Irene was a massively destructive storm, and BGE did an outstanding job of formulating and executing its emergency preparedness plans to restore service safely and efficiently following the storm’s aftermath,” EEI President Tom Kuhn said. “BGE had boots on the ground before the storm reached land, and in doing so, proved that they are a company committed to excellence.”
The recipients of the annual EEI “Emergency Recovery Award” are chosen by a panel of judges following an international nomination process. BGE was recognized, along with sister Exelon companies ComEd, based in Chicago, and PECO, based in Philadelphia, during EEI’s Spring CEO meeting.
The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) is the association of U.S. shareholder-owned electric companies. Our members serve 95 percent of the ultimate customers in the shareholder-owned segment of the industry, and represent approximately 70 percent of the U.S. electric power industry. We also have more than 65 International electric companies as Affiliate members, and more than 170 industry suppliers and related organizations as Associate members.
BGE, www.bge.com (click here for more info) 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 3,000 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 Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider with approximately $33 billion in annual revenues.