9,000 WITHOUT POWER| BGE Crews working to restore customers after winter storms
Winter Storm Riley caused heavy damage along the East Coast beginning last Friday. Strengthening significantly beyond forecasts, the storm delivered high sustained winds and gusts through the 70 mph range for more than 48 hours. Utilities from Mid-Atlantic to New England reported more than 2.6 million power outages at the storm's peak and more than 200,000 customers are still out across all impacted utilities. Each of Exelon's Mid-Atlantic utilities mobilized in advance of the storm and were joined by crews from ComEd, Exelon's utility in Illinois.
Exelon reportedly worked with the mutual assistance networks to provide its own crews with more line workers, contractors and support staff from more than 16 states and Canada to form a force of about 7,500 working on the restoration. Rodney Oddoye, vice president of customer operations and chief customer officer for BGE says, "We have flooded the region with our technicians and more than 950 line workers from outside the storm's path to finish the job of restoring power to all of our customers. As we deploy all available resources from BGE and the assistance crews from across the country to bring power back safely to the remaining customers affected by last week's winds, we are also keeping a close eye on the forecast to ensure that we can respond to any issues new weather may bring."
BGE says that its crews are working in around the clock shifts to bring back service as safely and quickly as possible, with more than 435,000 BGE customers having been restored already. Final repairs to pockets of more heavily damaged areas are continuing into mid-week. Crews from BGE's Exelon sister utility ComEd in Illinois, along with utilities in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Pennsylvania, Texas and Canada are helping in BGE'S restoration effort. Resources are working out of regional staging areas at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen, M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore and B.W.I. Airport in Anne Arundel County.
If more outages happen because of weather, more crews will be on hand to support restorations. BGE says that its greatest concern with Winter Storm Quinn is the possibility for heavy, wet snow, which can stick to tree limbs and overhead power lines. An accumulation of wet snow could coat tree branches bringing them down into power lines and causing service interruptions for customers. Strong winds are also expected, which could lead to damage and outages for customers.
While outages continue to decrease, the pace of the number of customers restored will be slower than during the first few days of the storm. This is reportedly because a lot of the remaining work on the system is requires a lot of work and a lot of time. Once finished, the jobs are likely to bring back service to smaller groups of customers at a time in many cases only a single customer.
BGE is asking all customers, including those with smart meters, to report their outage. Officials say that outages can be reported online at BGE.com and via BGE'S free mobile app available at the Apple Store or Google Play. Customers can also report outages and downed wires by calling 877-778-2222, on BGE.com and through mobile devices. To sign up for emails and text notifications, people can visit BGE.com/alerts.
Customers with special needs, such as those who may be elderly, disabled or dependent on electricity for medical equipment, should have other arrangements in place should they experience an extended power outage. BGE'S restoration priorities are public safety and are critical care facilities, such as 911 centers, hospitals and pumping stations. Then restoration is generally set so that the greatest number of customers can be restored as quickly and safely as possible.
However in cases of extended power outages, consideration is also given to critical customers with life and health risks, including senior centers and assisted living facilities and also to customers who have been without service for the longest.