BGE Prepares for Several Hundred Thousand Customers to Be Out of Power
From the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE):
Approximately 1,300 out-of-state linemen and tree personnel are expected to begin arriving tomorrow in advance of the hurricane’s full impact, with continuing arrivals throughout the week.
Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that customers should anticipate extended and widespread power outages lasting several days once the effects of Hurricane Sandy enter central Maryland sometime tomorrow evening. Approximately 1,300 out of a requested 2,000 out-of-state and contract linemen, tree personnel and support staff from Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas are expected to begin arriving tomorrow in advance of the hurricane’s full impact, with continuing arrivals throughout the week. BGE’s sister utility, ComEd, an Exelon company based in Chicago, is also providing support to the company’s preparation and restoration efforts. Several large remote staging areas – BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, M&T Bank Stadium, Timonium Fairgrounds and Ripken Stadium – are being set up across the service area to provide a base for extra crews and vehicles.
“BGE customers have been or are being contacted via an automated telephone message strongly urging them to have a plan in place now to protect their families and property in advance of the storm’s arrival in central Maryland,” said Jeannette M. Mills, vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. “We are also reminding our customers who are elderly, physically challenged or dependent upon electricity for medical equipment that it is critically important for them to always have alternate arrangements in place in the event they experience an extended power outage.”
Hurricane Sandy is expected to bring sustained winds of more than 40 miles per hour with gusts exceeding 60 miles per hour, as well as heavy rain of up to five inches in some parts of the territory. This combination is likely to cause extensive damage to BGE’s electric distribution system due to whole trees and large tree limbs falling onto power lines and other equipment, as well as potential flooding. As a result, it is likely that some customers will be without power for several days.
BGE will continue to take action to secure and apply available resources to restore service as quickly and safely as possible. We are also reassigning employees to storm roles and repurposing vehicles normally used for other tasks such as meter reading to assist with damage assessments and standby duties for downed wires.
To identify outages and assist customers, BGE’s contact centers are fully staffed and will be working in extended shifts. The best point of contact for outages and downed wires is through our automated outage reporting system at 1.877.778.2222.
Customers are urged to take the time now to prepare. In addition to visiting BGE’s online Storm Center for important information on how to prepare for an approaching storm, customers should always have the following basic items on hand:
- Flashlights – not candles
- Fresh batteries
- Battery-operated clock radio
- Corded telephone
- Fully charged cell phone
- Non-perishable foods
- Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days for drinking and sanitation
- First aid kit
- Local maps
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. Customers using a generator should follow manufacturer instructions and be sure to locate generators in well-ventilated areas. Customers can find information on preparing for natural disasters and other emergency events at bge.com, as well as find tips and updated information on storm preparation and restoration progress via BGE’s social media sites Twitter and Facebook.
In instances of long periods of heavy rain, BGE prepares 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. In cases where flooding affects equipment after 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
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. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.