BGE: We’ll Call You, Don’t Report Unfounded Gas Leaks

| August 30, 2011 | 0 Comments

BGE has issued a release (below) advising that they will be contacting people who they expect to have their power restored today.  They are also requesting that customers not report “unfounded” gas leaks as it is hampering their work in getting electric restored.  The release does not address how BGE intends to get in touch with customers who rely on BGE power to run their telephones. It also does not discuss how customers can make the determination of what is a real gas leak or an “unfounded” one.

Baltimore Gas and Electric Company Restores Electric Service to More than 500,000 Customers –70 Percent of All Customers Affected by Hurricane Irene; Utility Also Contacting Customers Still Out of Service

 

Utility urging customers not to report false emergencies such as unfounded gas leaks

 

Utility taking a balanced approach to restoring service, ensuring all jurisdictions within its service area receive similar attention

 

 

BALTIMORE, Aug. 30, 2011 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that it has restored electric service to 70 percent of the nearly 750,000 customers who experienced electric service interruptions during, and in the hours and immediate days following Hurricane Irene. Additionally, the utility is attempting to contact customers whose service should be restored today via automated telephone message.  The utility remains on a pace to restore electric service to the vast majority of customers whose service is still out by Friday with some scattered outages that may extend into Saturday; however the utility strongly urges customers to refrain from reporting false emergencies such as unfounded gas leaks. Such calls divert resources from responding to actual emergencies and do not result in faster restoration of electric service for customers making false reports. Customers are reminded to stay informed on restoration progress via www.bge.com, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.

“BGE continues to further augment its restoration resources and has obtained more than 500 additional linemen and support staff who arrived from Alabama Power this morning, bringing to approximately 4,600, the number of people actively engaged in the restoration effort,” said A. Christopher Burton, senior vice president of gas and electric operations and planning. “BGE continues to take a balanced approach to restoration, ensuring outages are simultaneously addressed in all jurisdictions served by BGE.  The utility is also in close contact with local and elected officials and representatives of emergency operations centers in order to keep the jurisdictions served by BGE informed of the utility’s progress.”

Restoration crews are working in “pods,” meaning work that requires multiple crews with different skill sets are traveling together, which allows each crew to begin its work as soon as the crew before them has completed their part of the job. This is a very efficient approach to the restoration effort.

“While the number of public safety issues is declining significantly, BGE continues to encourage customers to report downed wires by calling 1-877-778-2222,” said Jeannette M. Mills, senior vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. “BGE’s call center has already handled more than 1.2 million calls and continues to operate at a heightened staffing level with more than 200 representatives actively engaged in storm response.”

BGE’s balanced approach to restoring electric service prioritizes outages affecting public safety and critical infrastructure in all parts of its service area, however, the backbone of the utility’s electric distribution system, its 33 kilovolt power lines, which supply power to substations, sustained significant damage from Hurricane Irene. Those lines must be repaired or replaced before service to the downstream customers can be restored. As a result, outage durations have been extended for some customers.

Although BGE continues to make steady progress in restoring service to customers, the saturated ground and trees weakened by the hurricane’s high wind, could cause new outages in the days, weeks and even months to come.

As always, restoration priorities are public safety matters such as downed wires and critical infrastructure which includes 911 centers, service restored in a way that hospitals, and water treatment facilities. Once these issues have been addressed, field assignments will be prioritized in order to restore service to the greatest number of customers at a time. Consideration will also be given to customers who have been out of service the longest.

As a reminder, BGE customers who may be elderly, handicapped or dependent on electricity for medical equipment who are still without power, may want to consider relocating to an alternate location until power is restored. These customers are always encouraged to have alternate arrangements in place should they experience a power outage.  Customers using a generator should follow manufacturer instructions and be sure to locate generators in well-ventilated areas. For more information about BGE storm preparation and how customers can protect their families and property, go to www.bge.com.

BGE, www.bge.com, headquartered in Baltimore, is Maryland’s largest gas and electric utility, delivering power to more than 1.2 million electric customers and more than 640,000 natural gas customers in Central Maryland. The company’s approximately 3,000 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 Constellation Energy, www.constellation.com, a FORTUNE 500 company also headquartered in Baltimore, with subsidiaries that generate, sell and provide other energy-related services to customers throughout North America.

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John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for more than 15 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news--and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009. John's background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.