Public safety such as downed wires and critical infrastructure such as hospitals and 911 centers are restoration priorities
BALTIMORE, Aug. 27, 2011 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that it has restored electric service to more than 24,000 customers, however, the utility expects the number of outages to increase significantly overnight as the peak of the storm passes through Central Maryland late this evening and into Sunday morning. Severe weather from Hurricane Irene has brought heavy rains, flooding and high, sustained wind of up to 40 miles per hour, with wind gusts of up to 55 miles per hour. Saturated ground coupled a heavy tree canopy and high wind has caused whole trees and tree limbs to come down onto power lines and other electric equipment. Due to the severe nature of this storm, customers may experience multiple outages throughout the next several days, including extended outages while the utility continues restoration work, even after the storm has passed. The hardest hit areas include Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert and Prince George’s Counties, and Baltimore City. Customers are reminded to stay informed of restoration progress via www.bge.com, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.
“BGE is committed to restoring service as safely and as quickly as possible but must first focus on public safety such as downed wires, followed by critical infrastructure including hospitals and 911 centers,” said A. Christopher Burton, senior vice president of gas and electric operations for BGE. “Once these issues have been addressed and we’ve completed our initial damage assessment, field assignments will be prioritized in a way that restores service to the greatest number of customers at one time. Consideration will also be given to customers who have been out of service the longest. That said, a large number of our customers should expect to be without power for several days.”
BGE reminds customers that some restoration work, such as the use of bucket trucks, cannot be safely completed when the wind is at or above approximately 25 miles per hour. BGE thanks its customers for their patience and understanding.
“Customers are reminded to report downed wires immediately by calling 410-685-0123. Power outages should be reported via our automated telephone system at 1-877-778-2222,” said Jeannette M. Mills, senior vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. “The peak of the storm is forecasted to impact our service area between 10 p.m. tonight night and 2 a.m. and our call center is fully prepared to handle a steady increase in outage reports late tonight and into tomorrow.”
As a reminder, 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 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. For more information about BGE storm preparation and how customers can protect their families and property, go to www.bge.com.
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.
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.