BALTIMORE, Aug. 24, 2011 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that it continues to closely monitor Hurricane Irene and is taking proactive action to ensure it is prepared to aggressively respond to widespread and extended power outages should they occur. In addition to reminding all available employees of their storm assignments, the utility is identifying materials, equipment and other resources necessary to restore electric service as safely and as quickly as possible. BGE is also in the process of pre-mobilizing several hundred linemen and support staff from outside of BGE’s service area to supplement its resources. Some of these resources are expected to begin arriving in BGE’s service area today, with more likely to arrive on Thursday and Friday. This proactive action will ensure BGE and its external resources are available to begin restoration work as soon as the storm has cleared Central Maryland and it is safe to do so.
“BGE’s storm leadership has been regularly meeting since earlier this week, discussing Hurricane Irene and its potential impact on BGE’s service area,” said A. Christopher Burton, senior vice president of gas and electric operations and planning for BGE. “BGE’s priority is always to restore electric service as safely and as quickly as possible. However, BGE customers should prepare for the possibility of widespread, extended outages due to heavy rain and wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour knocking down whole trees and large tree limbs onto power lines. An event of this magnitude could leave some customers without power for multiple days.”
The current track of Hurricane Irene has its peak impact on BGE’s service area from Saturday afternoon through early Sunday morning. Customers could begin to experience outages on Saturday and may experience multiple outages even after the storm has cleared the system on Sunday due to weakened trees and tree limbs that may not fall until after the storm has left the area. Should BGE customers experience storm-related outages, they are encouraged to stay informed of BGE’s restoration efforts via www.bge.com, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.
“In addition to ensuring it is prepared to address the approaching storm, BGE is proactively attempting to contact customers via automated telephone message, strongly advising them to have a plan in place now to protect their families and property in advance of the storm’s arrival,” said Jeannette M. Mills, senior vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. “BGE customers who are elderly, physically challenged or dependent upon electricity for medical equipment should always have alternate arrangements in place should they experience an extended power outage. Customers using generators should follow the manufacturers’ instructions and be sure to locate generators in well-ventilated areas. Additionally, customers are encouraged to visit BGE’s online Storm Center for important information on how to prepare for an approaching storm.”
Customers should have basic items on hand in advance of a storm, including the following:
- Flashlights – not candles
- Fresh batteries
- Battery operated clock radio
- Corded telephone
- Fully charged cell phone
- Non-perishable foods
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.
For more information about BGE storm preparation and how customers can protect their families and property, go to www.bge.com.
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.