(BALTIMORE, Oct. 29, 2012 –) Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) http://www.bge.com/Pages/default.aspx> today announced that it is working aggressively to ensure public safety and restore service, where possible, during Hurricane Sandy. As of 4:00 p.m., the company has restored service to nearly 18,000 customers. However, power outages are expected to mount, extending the restoration effort over multiple days, especially as numerous whole trees and very large tree limbs, weakened by the storm, are expected to continue to come down onto power lines and add to the damage. In some cases, work is being delayed until it is safe to perform such as work requiring bucket trucks, which cannot be safely operated with wind speeds at or above 25 miles per hour. The company expects numerous new outages to occur throughout the next few days.
“BGE crews, contractors and mutual assistance personnel are out now throughout the territory attempting to restore power as safely and quickly as possible,” said Jeannette M. Mills, vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. “However, dangerous conditions may drive crews to seek safety in company vehicles in and around local communities. Rather than return to staging areas and wait for the storm to pass, this tactic positions utility workers to be closer to actual restoration locations. Repairs will continue once it is safe to do so.”
More than 4,100 employees, contractors and out-of-state linemen, tree personnel and support staff are mobilized at BGE facilities and four staging sites, located at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, M&T Bank Stadium, Timonium Fairgrounds, and Ripken Stadium in response to the recent arrival of Hurricane Sandy. This includes approximately 1,700 out of a requested 3,000 out-of-state and contract linemen, tree personnel and support staff from Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas who have joined our BGE crews or are en route. BGE’s sister utility, ComEd, an Exelon company based in Chicago, is also providing support to the company’s restoration efforts. BGE is now working to set up a fifth stating site at Six Flags America, located in Prince George’s County.
All customers, including those with smart meters, are reminded to report power outages and downed wires through 1.877.778.2222. In the near future, smart meters will provide information that will help alert BGE about outages. However, customers should still call to alert BGE when they are experiencing an outage in their home or neighborhood. As always, customers are urged stay away from downed power lines and never to assume they are de-energized, even if the power to the area appears to be out. Customers are also reminded to obey Maryland’s new traffic law that went into effect Oct. 1, which states that all drivers must makes a complete stop when approaching a non-functional traffic light before entering any crosswalk or before entering the intersection.
BGE's restoration priorities are public safety issues and critical facilities such as 911 centers, hospitals and water/sewage treatment centers. Then restoration is generally scheduled so that the greatest number of customers can be restored as quickly and as safely as possible.
Due to the widespread outages and damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, BGE will not be able to provide individual estimated restoration times like it does with normal storms. BGE anticipates that an estimated time for restoration of the entire system will not be available until damage assessments are complete and the company works through the first phases of the restoration process to repair the electric system backbone and public safety sites. In order to limit the understandable frustration that results when the company can’t restore power by a given time, estimated times for restoration on a feeder and individual customer basis will only become available to customers as BGE works through the damage to its system and the company has high confidence in their accuracy. Even with this precaution, customers are reminded that these timeframes may change as restoration efforts continue and specific outage causes are analyzed.
Customers should visit BGE’s online Storm Center <http://www.bge.com/customerservice/stormsoutages/stormcenter/pages/default.aspx> for important information on how to stay safe before, during and after as a storm, including important safety tips on flooding <http://www.bge.com/customerservice/stormsoutages/currentoutages/pages/gas-outages.aspx> . 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. Restoration updates can also be found on BGE’s social media sites Twitter <http://www.twitter.com/myBGE> and Facebook <http://www.facebook.com/pages/edit/?id=114351251909317#!/pages/Baltimore-MD/MyBGE/114351251909317> .
BGE <http://www.bge.com/Pages/default.aspx> , headquartered in Baltimore, is Maryland’s largest gas and electric utility, delivering power to more than 1.2 million electric customers and more than 650,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland. The company’s approximately 3,400 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 Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider with approximately $33 billion in annual revenues. Like us on Facebook <http://www.facebook.com/myBGE> and follow us on Twitter <http://twitter.com/mybge> , YouTube <http://www.youtube.com/baltimoregaselectric> and Flickr <http://www.flickr.com/photos/mybge> .