Jeannette M. Mills, VP, Customer Operations & Chief Customer Officer
As Hurricane Sandy churns northward and forecasts indicate that it will significantly impact Maryland, BGE continues preparations to be ready to repair damage and restore power outages caused by this unusually late-season hurricane. Even with preparations already under way, a storm of this magnitude has the potential to cause hundreds of thousands of power outages as it passes. We are expecting high winds, heavy rain, possible flooding, and the resulting downed wires, limbs, trees and poles. Many customers may not lose power or may experience only a relatively short outage. But, all customers should be prepared for the possibility of losing power and to plan on the potential for multi-day outages given the expectation of widespread damage.
Earlier this week, we set in motion our storm mobilization plan, and currently resources are moving into place to be ready when the storm hits the service area. We have already called for assistance from 2,000 out-of-state linemen and tree removal personnel to augment the BGE force. To date, we have already received commitments from 800 out-of-state workers from eight states. 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.
Several large remote staging areas are being set up across the service area to provide a base for extra crews and vehicles. Supplies to make repairs to damaged equipment—reels of wire, poles, transformers, etc.—are being readied at BGE’s warehouses and staging areas.
To identify outages and assist customers, our 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 encouraged to:
- Report power outages and downed wires through 1.877.778.2222, and do not assume your outage has already been reported. You will be prompted for the phone number associated with the account so please have that ready. This number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Report the outage and downed wire only once. If you experience a new outage once power has already been restored, you should report the new outage. Calling more than once to report the same outage will not speed the restoration process.
- Be prepared for multi-day outages and the likelihood that even an estimated time for restoration of the entire system may not be available until damage assessments are complete and BGE works through the first phases of the restoration process to repair the electric system backbone and public safety sites. Estimated times for restoration on a feeder and customer basis will become available as BGE works through the damage to its system.
As we continue to monitor the hurricane and to execute on our mobilization plan we ask that you continue to prepare, as well. BGE’s Storm Center has checklists of items to help you prepare for the storm and possible extended outages. I want to thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we work to weather Hurricane Sandy.