October 29, 2012
Baltimore Gas and Electric Company Positioned to Restore Service as Safely and Quickly as Possible; Significant Increase in Outages Expected as Storm Passes through Central Maryland
Public safety such as downed wires and critical infrastructure such as hospitals and 911 centers are restoration priorities
Baltimore – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that it is mobilized and positioned to restore electric service as safely and quickly possible; however, the utility expects the number of outages to increase significantly as the peak of the storm passes through central Maryland. Severe weather from Hurricane Sandy is expected to bring heavy rains, flooding and high, sustained wind of more than 40 miles per hour, with wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour. This combination is likely to cause extensive damage to BGE’s electric distribution system as whole trees and large tree limbs fall onto power lines and other equipment. Due to the severe nature of this storm, customers may experience multiple outages throughout the next several days, including extended outages while the company continues restoration work, even after the storm has passed.
“BGE is committed to restoring service as safely and as quickly as possible but must first focus on public safety such as downed wires, as well as critical infrastructure including hospitals, 911 centers and water/sewage treatment centers,” said Jeannette M. Mills, vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. “Once these issues have been addressed and we’ve completed our initial damage assessment, field assignments will be prioritized in a way that restores service to the greatest number of customers at one time.”
Customers are reminded to report power outages and downed wires through 1.877.778.2222. 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.
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. BGE is also working to set up a fifth stating site at Six Flags America, located in Prince George’s County. At this time, 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 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 committed to restoring service as safely and quickly as possible, and has dispatched personnel to engage in restoration. Company and out-of-state crews will begin restoring power even as the storm is affecting the region, operating conditions permitting; however, crews may be required to seek safety from dangerous high winds in and around local communities while in company vehicles. 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. BGE reminds customers that certain types of work such as repairs requiring the use of bucket trucks cannot be safely performed when the wind exceeds 25 miles per hour.
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 for important information on how to stay safe before, during and after as a storm, including important safety tips on flooding. 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 and Facebook.
BGE, 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.