Nearly 200 out-of-state personnel retained following Hurricane Irene to assist with storm restoration this week
BALTIMORE, Sept. 6, 2011 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that it has restored electric service to more than 23,000 customers and continues to work very aggressively to restore service to customers affected by today’s heavy rain. The utility began experiencing outages on its system early this morning and expects new outages to continue to occur at least until the heavy rain exits Central Maryland. However, trees weakened by Hurricane Irene could be further weakened by today’s rain, causing them to fall onto power lines and other equipment even once the rain has cleared the area. Because new outages are expected throughout the day, customers calling BGE should expect very preliminary information regarding estimated times of restoration (ETR). This is primarily because a complete assessment of damage cannot be conducted until the weather system has cleared the area and crews are able to get to the location of damaged equipment, remove heavy tree debris and access the equipment in need of repair.
On the heels of one of the most damaging storms in the utility’s 200-year history, BGE is battling yet another weather system that’s causing outages across our service area,” said A. Christopher Burton, senior vice president of gas and electric operations and planning for BGE. “In anticipation of new outages caused by today’s rain, BGE proactively retained close to 200 external linemen and support personnel — brought here to assist with restoration following Hurricane Irene — on its system to help with outages resulting from today’s weather.”
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. ?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
• Fresh batteries
• Battery operated clock radio
• Corded telephone
• Fully charged cell phone
• Non-perishable foods
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.
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.
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.