Restoration efforts beginning to focus on work that will restore service to fewer customers at a time
Utility expects to make significant progress restoring service to small groups of customers or individual customers
BALTIMORE, Sept. 1, 2011 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that it is in the final days of the massive restoration effort, which began last Saturday evening, before the full impact of Hurricane Irene could be determined. Within 72 hours of the storm’s passing, the utility had restored service to more than 600,000 customers, which represents more than 80 percent of all customers affected by the storm. Steady and significant progress continues to be made in restoring service to the remaining customers, resulting in smaller groups of customers or individual customers getting their power back. This approach is in line with industry standards, which focus first on public safety and critical infrastructure issues, followed by work that will restore the largest number of customers at once.
“While BGE has made significant progress since last weekend, we certainly recognize that those who continue to be without power are anxious to get their lives back to normal,” said A. Christopher Burton, senior vice president of gas and electric operations and planning. “BGE continues to work very aggressively to restore service to the remaining customers and will not rest until all of its customers are back in service. This restoration effort has been a huge undertaking and we know it has not been easy, especially for customers who’ve experienced extended or multiple outages. BGE is committed to getting the remaining customers back in service as safely and as quickly as possible.”
Approximately 750,000 customers have experienced electric service interruptions as a result of Hurricane Irene, which tracks very closely the impact of Hurricane Isabel on BGE’s electric system in 2003 when approximately 790,000 customers were without power. BGE is currently on a pace to restore service to all affected customers in fewer days than it took to restore service during the Hurricane Isabel.
“BGE fully intends to continue keeping its customers informed of the progress being made during this extraordinary restoration effort and has updated its website to reflect some of the general areas where crews are or will be working today,” said Jeannette M. Mills, senior vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. “Additionally, BGE is contacting some customers via automated telephone message alerting them if crews are scheduled to restore their service within the next 24 hour period. Customers can also stay informed on restoration progress via www.bge.com, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.”
More than 5,000 people including out-of-state linemen and support staff, BGE employees and contractors are actively engaged in the restoration effort and the utility remains confident that it will restore electric service to the vast majority of customers whose service is still out by Friday with some scattered outages possibly extending into Saturday. The utility has received support from eighteen states including Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.
Restoration crews are working in “pods,” meaning work that requires multiple crews with different skill sets are traveling together, which allows each crew to begin its work as soon as the crew before them has completed their part of the job. This is a very efficient approach to the restoration effort.
BGE’s balanced approach to service restoration ensures crews are working simultaneously in every jurisdiction where BGE has customers, addressing public safety and critical infrastructure issues across BGE’s Central Maryland service area. As part of BGE’s standard process during major events such as Hurricane Irene, the company is in regular communication with state and local public and elected officials and emergency operations centers, helping to ensure a coordinated effort between the jurisdictions and the utility. BGE appreciates the assistance and cooperation of these officials and organizations.
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. Customers are reminded to report power outages by calling 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.
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.