Jeannette M. Mills VP, Customer Operations & Chief Customer Officer
The magnitude of this storm and the recovery from it have yielded some imposing statistics, but the critical number for BGE remains the total of customers who are still without power. Our crews and support teams continue to work around-the-clock shifts in locations across central Maryland to bring those customers back online as soon as is safely possible and reduce the outages since the storms to zero.
Accounts of the derecho storm system place initial power outages at 3.7 million across nine states and the District of Columbia. More than 725,000 of our 1.2 million customers experienced power outages since last Friday’s storm, including 90,000 outages attributed to subsequent storms and extreme heat.
Although the storm packed a hurricane-like punch (last summer’s Hurricane Irene accounted for approximately 750,000 outages) without the advance warning of a tropical system, BGE’s mobilization was immediate, calling in external crews from 19 states and three Canadian provinces. In total, more than 1,900 out-of-state utility workers joined 2,800 BGE personnel to bring our total storm response force to more than 4,700 field and support workers.
Crews utilized thousands of utility vehicles from restoration staging areas to get to locations in nine counties and Baltimore City across BGE’s service area of 2,300 square miles. Preliminary estimates for supplies withdrawn from BGE warehouses include hundreds of thousands of pieces of equipment and counting. This has included miles of wire, wire connectors, poles and cross arms, transformers and fuses. This does not include all of the wire, poles and materials that could be repaired in the field along our 9,406 circuit miles of overhead distribution lines and 244 substations. Preliminary estimates from the field are expected to further develop as restorations continue, and accounting is completed following the storm recovery.
So far, the customer contact center has fielded more than 1.2 million
calls from customers about outages and more than 8,400
reports of downed wires. Activity on our website and social media sites have spiked, with the volume of Facebook
posts now exceeding levels experienced in the wake of last summer’s hurricane. Videos of the recovery
on YouTube have received thousands of views and our photos of the storm damage and repair work have received more than 50,000
views on Flickr
The single most popular photo has been this powerful image of crew members from Mississippi Power pausing for a prayer
before heading out on the 4th of July to restore power to customers in Maryland. It reached 21,000
views on Facebook alone and reminded everyone of the most important number, returning 4,700
restoration workers home to their families. Today they are all still in the field, in tough conditions, making the final restorations as quickly as is safely possible. We are indebted to their service and committed to their safety. Together we are weathering the aftermath of this severe impact storm. We continue to thank you for your patience and understanding during the recovery.