BALTIMORE – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) has been closely monitoring and making preparations for the possibility of a significant winter storm forecasted to affect the mid-Atlantic region tonight and tomorrow. BGE has been mobilizing field and support personnel to be ready to respond to any potential service interruptions that may be caused by the possibility of heavy, wet snow and high wind gusts that can bring tree limbs down onto power lines and electric delivery equipment. More than 3,600 employees and contractors, including additional construction and tree crews coming from outside Maryland, including from BGE’s sister utility ComEd in Chicago, are mobilized to respond to outages.
“Safety is a priority at BGE and we want our customers to remain safe by preparing for this winter storm in the event there are power outages,” said Robert Biagiotti, BGE vice president and chief customer officer. “We also want to remind all customers, including those with smart meters, to report their outages to BGE by calling 1.877.778.2222 or reporting online through mobile devices.”
Outages and downed wires may be reported at BGE.com and through mobile devices. Customers can find information on preparing for winter weather and other emergency events at the storm center on BGE.com, as well as storm preparation information and restoration progress via BGE’s social media sites Twitter and Facebook.
Customers with special needs, such as those who may be elderly, disabled or dependent on electricity for medical equipment, should have alternate arrangements in place should they experience an extended power outage.
BGE’s restoration priorities are public safety and critical care facilities, such as 911centers, 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. Clearing fallen tree debris, snow-blocked roads, and safety limitations on use of bucket trucks during periods of high sustained winds, can be factors in restoration progress.
Prior to the arrival of the winter storm, BGE requests that customers identify the location of outside utility equipment such as natural gas or electric meters that could be covered in snow and may be susceptible to damage from snow shovels and mechanized snow removal equipment. Keep exhaust vents for natural gas appliances like water heaters, furnaces and fireplaces, clear of snow and ice, an important safety precaution in preventing buildup of carbon monoxide. Please keep outside meters clear of ice and snow. Use a broom or brush to gently clear the area around the meter of anything blocking it, including debris, ice and snow. Do not melt ice or snow on meters with a heat source, and do not chip or scrape ice. These methods can damage or break the meter. It is also important to remove icicles that hang over the meter and can drip freezing water that may damage equipment.
BGE encourages its customers and employees to proactively prepare for severe weather and the possibility of power outages by:
Staying informed – Be aware of changing weather conditions and plan ahead. Have a battery-powered radio with a weather band so you can hear emergency information when the power is out.
Making a plan – Discuss and document an emergency plan with those in your care. Develop an emergency plan that includes alternative arrangements should the need arise to leave your home in the event that your electric service is interrupted.
Making a list of emergency phone numbers (including 877.778.2222 to report an outage or a downed wire to BGE) and keep a personal telephone book and one corded phone or a cell phone on hand. Customers are also able to report power outages from mobile phones and devices through the mobile website at bge.com.
Maintaining an emergency supply kit – Keep enough emergency supplies on hand for you and those in your care. Remember supplies for children, those with special needs and pets. Keep the following items readily available:
Flashlights – not candles
Battery-operated clock radio
Fully charged cell phone
Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days for drinking and sanitation
]First aid kit
Customers 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.
Customers using a generator or space heater should follow manufacturer instructions and be sure to locate generators outside, in well-ventilated areas.