Utility has also restored electric service to more than 100,000 customers since Tuesday, just three days after completing massive restoration effort triggered by Hurricane Irene
Vast majority of remaining affected customers should be restored by late this afternoon
BALTIMORE, Sept. 9, 2011 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that it is working very closely with the City of Havre de Grace in Harford County to address issues associated with major flooding caused by ongoing torrential rains and the rising of the Susquehanna River. For safety reasons, the utility began suspending natural gas and electric service to customers last night, and as of this morning, natural gas service had been suspended to approximately 200 customers and electric service had been suspended to nearly 90 customers. However, the number of customers affected is expected to increase with the opening of additional floodgates at the Conowingo Dam this morning and the forecasted cresting of the Susquehanna River tomorrow morning. Service will be restored to the affected customers after the water recedes and BGE has completed a thorough inspection of its equipment, made any necessary repairs and determines it is safe to restore service.
“BGE has been working very closely with the City of Havre de Grace and Harford County emergency management officials to ensure the safety of residents affected by the historic rainfall and subsequent flooding that have triggered mandatory evacuations in some areas,” said A. Christopher Burton, senior vice president of gas and electric operations for BGE. “This continues to be a very fluid situation and we continue to monitor the rising flood waters and expect additional customers will be taken out of service to help ensure their safety and to minimize damage to our gas and electric infrastructure.”
In addition to BGE’s efforts in Havre de Grace, the utility is also aggressively working to restore electric service to customers affected by the recent heavy rain and thus far has restored service to more than 100,000 customer since Tuesday, just three days after completing the massive restoration effort associated with Hurricane Irene. The utility expects service to the vast majority of customers affected by this latest round of outages to be restored by late this afternoon. Many of the outages were caused by large trees and tree limbs falling onto power lines and other equipment. Many of these trees were weakened by Hurricane Irene and have been further weakened by the continued rainfall. Important restoration information is available via www.bge.com, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.
Customers should have basic items on hand in advance of a storm, including the following:
Flashlights – not candles
Battery operated clock radio
Fully charged cell phone
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.
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.