BALTIMORE – BGE today announced that it continues efforts to ensure public safety and restore customers who lost power as a result of Hurricane Sandy, which brought heavy rain, sustained wind of more than 40 mph and wind gusts exceeding 60 mph through central Maryland. Because of dangerous conditions, BGE is restoring service where it is safe to do so, with more than 133,000 customers restored as of 2:00 p.m. While the peak of the storm has passed, the company expects numerous new outages to occur throughout the next few days as trees and tree limbs, weakened by the storm, are expected to continue to come down onto power lines and add to the damage.
“BGE is working as safely and quickly as possible to conduct its damage assessment and restore power to our customers,” said Jeannette M. Mills, vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. “Throughout this process, it’s still vitally important that all customers, including those with smart meters, report power outages and downed wires through 1.877.778.2222. Once an outage is reported, there is no need to report it again; however, customers experiencing a new outage once power has already been restored should report the new outage.”
More than 4,500 field and support forces are engaged in the ongoing restoration effort. BGE will continue to take action to secure available resources, and has requested approximately 3,000 out-of-state and contract linemen, tree personnel and support staff, nearly 1,900 of which have arrived or are en route from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. BGE’s sister utility, ComEd, an Exelon company based in Chicago, is also providing support to the company’s restoration efforts. Several large remote staging areas – BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, M&T Bank Stadium, Timonium Fairgrounds and Ripken Stadium – are set up across the service area to provide a base for extra crews and vehicles.
“BGE has approximately 1,000 safety personnel engaged in blocking access to areas with downed wires, but new reports are coming in all the time,” said Mills. “As always, customers are urged to stay away from downed power lines and never to assume they are de-energized, even if the power to the area appears to be out.”
BGE’s restoration priorities are public safety issues and critical facilities such as 911 centers, hospitals and water/sewage treatment centers. Then restoration is generally scheduled so that the greatest number of customers can be restored as quickly and as safely as possible.
Company and out-of-state crews are working diligently to restore power; however, crews may be required to seek safety from dangerous high winds in and around local communities while in company vehicles. Rather than return to staging areas and wait for the storm to pass, this tactic positions utility workers to be closer to actual restoration locations. Repairs will continue once it is safe to do so. BGE reminds customers that certain types of work such as repairs requiring the use of bucket trucks cannot be safely performed when the wind exceeds 25 miles per hour.
Due to the widespread outages and damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, BGE will not be able to provide individual estimated restoration times like it does with normal storms. BGE anticipates that an estimated time for restoration of the entire system will not be available until damage assessments are complete and the company works through the first phases of the restoration process to repair the electric system backbone and public safety sites, which may not be until Thursday. BGE may not be able to provide estimated restoration times on a feeder and individual customer basis until damage to the system is assessed and the company has high confidence in the accuracy of repair time estimates. Even with this precaution, customers are reminded that these timeframes may change as restoration efforts continue and specific outage causes are analyzed.
Customers should visit BGE’s online Storm Center <http://www.bge.com/customerservice/stormsoutages/stormcenter/pages/default.aspx> for important information on how to stay safe before, during and after a storm, including important safety tips on flooding <http://www.bge.com/customerservice/stormsoutages/currentoutages/pages/gas-outages.aspx> . 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 are also reminded to obey Maryland’s new traffic law that went into effect Oct. 1, which states that all drivers must make a complete stop when approaching a non-functional traffic light before entering any crosswalk or before entering the intersection. Restoration updates can also be found on BGE’s social media sites Twitter <http://www.twitter.com/myBGE> and Facebook <http://www.facebook.com/pages/edit/?id=114351251909317#!/pages/Baltimore-MD/MyBGE/114351251909317> .
BGE <http://www.bge.com/Pages/default.aspx> , 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 3,400 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. Like us on Facebook <http://www.facebook.com/myBGE> and follow us on Twitter <http://twitter.com/mybge> , YouTube <http://www.youtube.com/baltimoregaselectric> and Flickr <http://www.flickr.com/photos/mybge> .