Service restored to 90 percent of all customers affected
BALTIMORE, Sept. 1, 2011 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that restoration efforts are beginning to focus on smaller groups of customers and individual customers now that most of the electric system’s large feeders (the backbone of the system), which supply power to smaller feeders, have been repaired. The utility continues on pace to restore the vast majority of the customers currently without service by late tomorrow, with some scattered, isolated outages extending into Saturday. Restoration to customers affected by Hurricane Irene is approximately one day ahead of the utility’s efforts following Hurricane Isabel in 2003, which affected roughly the same number of customers.
“As this massive restoration effort begins to wind down, the utility recognizes that for our customers whose service is still out, the tremendous progress that has been made thus far has little meaning,” said A. Christopher Burton, senior vice president of gas and electric operations and planning, BGE. “These customers have been the most patient and no doubt the most inconvenienced by this event. We remain committed to a safe and prompt restoration for each and every one of our customers. Only then will we be satisfied.”
The system-wide restoration effort began last Saturday evening, before the full impact of Hurricane Irene had even crossed through Maryland and before the damage to our system could be determined. Steady and significant progress continues to be made in restoring service to the remaining 60,000 customers, resulting in smaller groups of customers or individual customers getting their power back.
This enormous undertaking could not have been possible without the collective efforts of more than 5,500 people including out-of-state linemen and support staff, BGE employees and contractors. The non-BGE resources are from eighteen states including Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.
“BGE will continue to keep customers informed of the progress being made during this extraordinary restoration effort and is continually updating its website to reflect some of the general areas where crews are working today,” said Jeannette M. Mills, senior vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. “In addition, our customer call center, which has been operating around-the-clock at higher staffing levels since the impact of the storm, has fielded more than 1.4 million calls, and will continue to be staffed at these increased levels until all customers are restored. Customers can also stay informed on restoration progress via www.bge.com, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.”
As part of BGE’s restoration efforts, crews are operating in “pods,” meaning work that requires multiple crews with different skill sets travel together. In so doing, each crew begins its work as soon as the crew before them has completed their part of the job, resulting in the most efficient approach to restoration.
BGE’s balanced approach to service restoration ensures crews are working simultaneously in every jurisdiction where BGE has customers. 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. 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.
Because a number of BGE meter readers are assisting in storm restoration efforts, some customers may receive an estimated meter reading in this month’s bill. Please be aware that this reading – as well as any associated payments – will be automatically corrected in the following bill.
BGE also advises customers to protect themselves from individuals posing as BGE representatives. Customers should not open their door to someone they do not recognize. Customers should ask for photo identification through a door or window, especially if they did not schedule a visit from BGE. BGE does not accept cash payments in the field and suspicious persons should be reported to the police and BGE by calling 410.685.0123.
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.