Widespread and extended outages possible if the storm impacts the Mid-Atlantic region
Assistance from out-of-state utilities requested
Customers advised to have a plan in place now to protect their families and property
BALTIMORE, Aug. 23, 2011 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that it is closely monitoring Hurricane Irene and taking proactive action to ensure it is prepared to aggressively respond to widespread and extended power outages should they occur. In addition to identifying available company and contract personnel in the event the hurricane affects BGE’s Central Maryland area, the utility is in the process of requesting approximately 600 linemen and support staff from outside of BGE’s service area to supplement its resources. The utility is also strongly advising customers now to have a plan in place in advance of the storm’s arrival to protect their families and property.
“Although Hurricane Irene is currently days away from any possible impact to BGE customers, BGE leaders have begun to regularly meet to discuss our storm planning and response and are reminding employees of their storm assignments and responsibilities,” said A. Christopher Burton, senior vice president of gas and electric operations and planning for BGE. “As always, our goal is to restore electric service as safely and as quickly as possible. However, Hurricane Irene has the potential to cause widespread power outages, making the restoration effort a multiple day event, possibly leaving some customers without power for days at a time.”
Based on current forecasts, Hurricane Irene could affect BGE’s Central Maryland service area this weekend, possibly as early as Saturday. Should BGE customers experience storm-related outages, they are encouraged to stay informed of BGE’s restoration efforts via www.bge.com, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.
“Just as BGE proactively prepares for storm-related power outages, the company strongly advises customers to have a plan in place now, in order to protect their families and property during and after potentially damaging storms,” said Jeannette M. Mills, senior vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. “It is extremely important that BGE customers who are elderly, physically challenged or dependent upon electricity for medical equipment always have alternate arrangements in place should they experience an extended power outage. Customers using generators should follow the manufacturers’ instructions and be sure to locate generators in well-ventilated areas.”
Customers should have basic items on hand in advance of a storm, including the following:
-Flashlights – not candles
-Battery operated clock radio
-Fully charged cell phone
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.
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.
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 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.
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> .
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.