By Jeannette M. Mills, VP, Customer Operations & Chief Customer Officer
As Sandy, now a post-tropical storm, moves inland after making landfall last night, we continue to feel the effects of this large and powerful system. High winds are forecasted to continue through most of today into this evening. This brings two distinct challenges to the power restoration effort: 1) storm-weakened trees and limbs are expected to continue to fall today, causing more outages; 2) damage surveyors and power restoration crews will be slowed by conditions too dangerous to make all necessary assessments and repairs.
Encouragingly the storm continues to weaken and move away from us and crews are standing by today to work when conditions permit. Gradually improving conditions will allow us to incrementally ramp up our power restoration plan
and devote more of the 4,500 employees, contractors, out-of-state linemen, tree personnel and support staff to restoration efforts. We know that restoration can’t come fast enough for customers without service
. That is why we have crews strategically deployed at four remote staging areas
across the region to speed the restoration effort.
As conditions improve somewhat we will have crews positioned in impacted neighborhoods to begin repairs. You may see workers suspend restoration efforts when dangerous winds increase, waiting in company vehicles rather than returning to staging areas to wait for the storm to pass. This reduces transportation delays and enables crews to take advantage of temporary breaks in the weather. To be clear, safety of employees and customers is the top priority
. We will work as efficiently as possible to restore customers, but only once conditions are safe.
Remember, if you experience a power outage, call our automated outage reporting system at 1.877.778.2222. Do not assume your outage has already been reported, and even customers with smart meters still need to report outages. You will be prompted for the phone number associated with the account so please have that ready. Please report the outage or 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.
Continue to expect outages to last for multiple days due the magnitude of this storm. In the initial stages of clean-up, an estimated time for restoration of the entire system may not be available until damage assessments are finished and BGE works through the first phases of the restoration process to repair the electric system backbone and public safety sites. We will only be able to give estimated times for restoration on a feeder and individual customer basis after damage to the system is assessed and we have high confidence in the accuracy of repair time estimates. While we know you want to understand when your power will be restored, we do not want to add to frustrations with inaccurate information. If you do receive an estimate, keep in mind that these timeframes may change as restoration efforts continue and specific outage causes are analyzed.
Thank you for your patience as together we meet yet another major weather challenge.