Utility reminds customers that it no longer distributes dry ice in order to focus resources on the restoration effort
Customers should continue to report outages and downed wires by calling 1-877-778-2222 but customers should only report their outage once
BALTIMORE, Aug. 28, 2011 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that it has restored electric service to more than 177,000 customers. However the utility expects the restoration effort to continue for at least the next several days. In addition to massive amounts of tree debris which fell onto power lines and other electric delivery equipment during Hurricane Irene, new outages continue to occur as a result of ongoing high wind which is causing trees already weakened by the hurricane and sitting in saturated ground to fall onto power distribution equipment in the hours since the storm exited Central Maryland. At 9:00 a.m. today, BGE experienced its peak number of customers affected at 466,000 outages. Customers are reminded to stay informed on restoration progress via www.bge.com, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.
“If you are experiencing a power outage and have not reported it, BGE continues to ask its customers to report downed wires and outages by calling 1-877-778-2222. Once an outage is reported, there is no need to report it again,” said Jeannette M. Mills, senior vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. “BGE also reminds its customers that it no longer distributes dry ice. This allows BGE to focus more attention and resources on the restoration effort.”
As always, restoration priorities are public safety matters such as downed wires and critical infrastructure which includes 911 centers, hospitals, and water treatment facilities. Additionally, emphasis is being placed on the utility’s 33kV feeder network, which provides the backbone for BGE’s electric distribution network. 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 also will be given to customers who have been without electric service the longest.
“Roughly 3,700 company, contract and out-of-state personnel are actively engaged in the restoration effort and have been working around-the-clock, even when the hurricane was still making its way through Central Maryland,” said A. Christopher Burton, senior vice president of gas and electric operations and planning for BGE. “BGE reminds customers that the safety of its customers and employees is the company’s top priority. Across the service territory, high wind brought down whole trees and tree limbs onto power lines and electrical equipment, causing outages. Removing tree debris – a task that must be completed before work can begin to fix damaged electric equipment – is even more time consuming than removing normal tree debris and will extend outage durations. BGE thanks its customers for their continued patience and understanding.”
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 www.bge.com.
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 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.
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, 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.