Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that during the 72 hours since Hurricane Irene’s passing, it has restored electric service to more than 80 percent of the approximately 750,000 customers who experienced electric service interruptions as a result of Hurricane Irene. Nearly 5,000 people including out-of-state linemen and support staff, BGE employees and contractors are actively engaged in the restoration effort and the utility remains confident that it will restore electric service to the vast majority of customers whose service is still out by Friday with some scattered outages possibly extending into Saturday.
BGE is attempting to call customers with a recorded message today alerting them if crews are expected to be in their area and advising them that BGE expects to restore the majority of that area today or early tomorrow – though in some case, additional repairs may be required. A list of some of the areas where crews are or will be working today is now available at www.bge.com. Customers can also stay informed on restoration progress via www.bge.com, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.
“BGE continues to make significant progress restoring service to nearly as many customers as were was affected by Hurricane Isabel in 2003, which, at the time, impacted more BGE customers than any other storm in the utility’s history,” said A. Christopher Burton, senior vice president of gas and electric operations and planning for BGE. “Much like Isabel, Hurricane Irene caused widespread and extensive tree debris which always extends outage durations because that debris must be cleared in order to make roads passable and to access electric delivery equipment before any repairs can be made.”
BGE’s balanced approach to service restoration ensures crews are working simultaneously in every jurisdiction where BGE has customers, addressing public safety and critical infrastructure issues across BGE’s Central Maryland service area. As part of BGE’s standard process during major events such as Hurricane Irene, the company is in regular communication with state and local public and elected officials and emergency operations centers, helping to ensure a coordinated effort between the jurisdictions and the utility. BGE appreciates the assistance and cooperation of these officials and organizations.
“BGE recognizes the extreme frustration of many of its customers whose service has not been restored and is attempting to contact some of these customers via automated telephone message, informing them of our plans to be in their communities today,” said Jeannette M. Mills, senior vice president of customer relations and account services and chief customer officer for BGE. “It’s important to remember however, that sometimes the work required to restore service takes multiple days and that additional repairs could be required before service to some of the customers in the areas being worked today is restored.”
Restoration crews are working in “pods,” meaning work that requires multiple crews with different skill sets are traveling together, which allows each crew to begin its work as soon as the crew before them has completed their part of the job. This is a very efficient approach to the restoration effort.
While the number of public safety issues is declining significantly, BGE continues to encourage customers to report downed wires by calling 1-877-778-2222.
As a reminder, BGE customers who may be elderly, handicapped or dependent on electricity for medical equipment who are still without power may want to consider relocating to an alternate location until power is restored. These customers are always encouraged to have alternate arrangements in place should they experience a power outage. Customers using a generator should follow manufacturer instructions and be sure to locate generators in well-ventilated areas. For more information about BGE storm preparation and how customers can protect their families and property, go to www.bge.com.