Utility retains approximately 200 out-of-state linemen and support personnel who assisted with Hurricane Irene restoration to help with weather-related restoration activity this week
BALTIMORE, Sept. 7, 2011 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that it is aggressively restoring electric service to customers as heavy rain and potential flooding impact Central Maryland. The utility expects the number of outages to increase as the heavy rain continues to fall onto ground already saturated by Hurricane Irene, making trees and tree limbs already weakened by the hurricane more likely to fall onto power lines and other equipment. Storms, forecasted for this afternoon and evening, may include heavy rain of up to five inches, frequent lightning and flooding, which could cause electric service interruptions.
Given the magnitude of today’s storm, BGE is planning for the very real potential of not only outages relating to overhead power lines, but also outages caused by flooding in cases where water enters gas and electric meters. BGE reminds its customers that BGE's responsibility for gas and/or electric service ends at the meter. Beyond the meter, customers are responsible for all wiring, pipe, appliances, breaker boxes and any other gas or electric-related equipment or service inside the home or business. Customers are urged to consider the following safety tips:
• Proceed with care if you have experienced flooding in your basement and or other areas of your home
• Do not enter a room with standing water, particularly if the water covers electrical outlets or electrical cords that are plugged into outlets
• Ensure the electrical system is shut off before entering a flooded room or basement
• Do not attempt to shut off your electrical system if you have to stand in water or on a wet floor to do so
• If you experienced flooding do not turn on any lights or appliances without having a comprehensive inspection performed by a licensed electrician and also by a registered plumber with a gasfitter's license for gas appliances.
“While BGE is restoring electric service to customers affected by today’s heavy rain and thunder storms, it expects new outages to appear on the system throughout the day as this weather system continues across Central Maryland,” said A. Christopher Burton, senior vice president of gas and electric operations and planning for BGE. “Many trees that did not fall during or immediately after Hurricane Irene, have an increased potential to fall today and in the coming days as their weakened state is made even weaker by the ongoing rain. As always, BGE thanks its customers for their patience and understanding.”
Heavy rain, strong wind and wind gusts can bring whole trees and tree limbs down onto power lines causing outages. 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
Battery operated clock radio
Fully charged cell phone
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.
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.