For Immediate Release
Expected weather conditions may cause service interruptions and affect restoration times as crews work through difficult weather and road conditions
BALTIMORE (Feb. 13, 2014) — Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) is continuing to monitor the winter storm that entered central Maryland overnight and is expected to continue to move through the BGE service area until early Friday. Heavy snow accumulations and periods of rain and sleet have been forecast, as well as sustained winds up to 30 miles per hour. Continued precipitation and increased wind speeds can result in widespread damage to trees and overhead power equipment that may cause electric service interruptions as the storm progresses today.
More than 1,600 line workers and support staff were mobilized in advance of the storm, including more than 530 line workers from 11 different states. Already deployed line crews are actively repairing damage that occurred Thursday morning and resulted in dispersed outages.
"As winds increase and precipitation continues today, we thank our customers for their preparedness and their patience as our crews work to safely restore power as quickly as possible," said Carol Dodson, vice president and chief customer officer for BGE.
Crews from 11 different states were in position prior to the storm to supplement BGE power restoration crews. Three regional staging areas are operating in Westminster in Carroll County, M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore City and BWI Airport in Anne Arundel County in addition to the company’s permanent service centers located throughout the central Maryland region. These temporary staging areas serve as regional operations centers and warehouses for the poles, wires and other equipment necessary for restoring power.
The safety of BGE’s customers and employees is always the utility’s top priority. Customers are reminded to stay away from downed power lines and report both outages and downed lines at 877.778.2222. Customers may also report power outages from mobile phones and devices through the company’s new mobile website at bge.com. An enhanced power outage map is also available through the mobile and full websites, and provides the general location and status of current electric power outages in BGE’s service area. Customers can view affected area(s), the number of customers affected by an outage, estimated time of restoration if available, and the status of the field crew assigned to repair the issue.
BGE encourages its customers and employees to prepare for severe weather and the possibility of power outages and to help ensure the safety of their families and property during service interruptions by taking the following steps:
Staying informed – Be aware of changing weather conditions and plan ahead. Have a battery-powered radio with a weather band so you can hear emergency information when the power is out.
Making a plan – Discuss and document an emergency plan with those in your care. Develop an emergency plan that includes alternative arrangements should the need arise to leave your home. Make provisions for special needs of any family member such as the elderly, disabled, medically affected or infants (Customers with Special Needs). If you are dependent on electric-powered medical equipment, you are encouraged to seek alternate arrangements in the event that your electric service is interrupted. Customers with special needs should have alternate arrangements in place should they experience an extended power outage.
Making a list of emergency phone numbers (including 877.778.2222 to report an outage or a downed wire to BGE) and keep a personal telephone book and one corded phone or a cell phone on hand. Customers are also able to report power outages from mobile phones and devices through the mobile website at bge.com.
Maintaining an emergency supply kit – Keep enough emergency supplies on hand for you and those in your care. Remember supplies for children, those with special needs and pets. Keep the following items readily available:
o Flashlights – not candles
o Fresh batteries
o Battery-operated clock radio
o Corded telephone
o Fully charged cell phone
o Non-perishable foods
o Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days for drinking and sanitation
o First aid kit
o Local maps
Customers using a generator or space heater should follow manufacturer instructions and be sure to locate generators in well-ventilated areas. Any customers using generators or portable heaters should carefully follow all safety instructions from the manufacturer. Improper use of this equipment or other appliances can result in potentially deadly carbon monoxide poisoning, fire or other dangerous conditions.
For customers who rely on well water, filling a bathtub with water in advance of severe weather is strongly encouraged.
To assure uninterrupted gas service, customers are reminded to keep outside gas meters and attached equipment clear of ice buildup and snow. Check the meter on a regular basis and gently clear away
any ice buildup or snow. A broom makes a handy tool to gently clear the meter. Even though it may be tempting, do not melt or chip the ice away or use a shovel to scrape it off. These methods can easily damage or break the meter. It is also important to remove icicles from the roof or gutters that hang over the meter. Dripping water can freeze and damage the meter or equipment. If the meter becomes encased in ice, please call BGE at 800.685.0123 for assistance.
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. The restoration process can be delayed by poor road conditions and difficult winter weather, such as the high sustained winds that are forecasted to build to 24-30 mph during the day Thursday. Some work, including work in bucket trucks, cannot be performed when there are sustained winds of 25 miles per hour or more.
Customers can find information on preparing for natural disasters and other emergency events at bge.com, as well as storm preparation information and restoration progress via BGE’s social media sites on Twitter and Facebook.
# # #
BGE, headquartered in Baltimore, is Maryland’s largest gas and electric utility, delivering power to more than 1.2 million electric customers and more than 655,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland. The company’s approximately 3,400 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 Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with 2012 revenues of approximately $23.5 billion. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.