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Delmarva Power Prepares to Respond to Hurricane Earl

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Customers Asked to Prepare for Possible Service Interruptions

SALISBURY, Md. – Delmarva Power reminds customers that the utility is taking steps to respond to any storm-related electric and gas service interruptions that may be caused by Hurricane Earl. While it is still too early to determine what the impact will be for our service territory, Delmarva Power is preparing for the possibility that our region may experience stormy weather.

Hurricanes can cause widespread and extended power outages by toppling trees and blowing limbs and debris onto power lines. Such storms can also affect natural gas lines.

Customers should be aware that hurricanes sometimes bring salt-laden air inland from the Atlantic Ocean, leading to a coating of salt on power lines and electrical equipment in coastal communities. The combination of salt buildup and moisture could cause customers’ lights to blink repeatedly and eventually lead to arcing, sparking, blown fuses, pole fires and extensive power outages. In the absence of rain, the salt can only be thoroughly removed by pressure washing the lines and equipment. To perform such work safely, lines and equipment are de-energized, which means some customers could experience intermittent power interruptions.

Delmarva Power is making sure that employee staffing is adequate and equipment inventories are well-stocked to aid in service restoration. If necessary, Delmarva Power crews will be supported by contractors and utility mutual assistance crews for restoration work. The Customer Care center will be fully staffed.

Preparedness is a shared responsibility and the utility encourages customers to prepare as well. No matter where you live – near the coast or inland – it is a good idea to be prepared for the effects of a hurricane. Here are a few important tips:

  • Keep Delmarva Power’s emergency numbers (Kent and Sussex counties and Maryland’s Eastern Shore, 1-800-898-8045; New Castle and Cecil counties, 1-800-898-8042; and New Castle County natural gas emergencies, 302-454-0317) accessible to report outages or wires down. Be safe and always stay clear of downed power lines. Treat them as “live” wires and do not touch them.
  • Make sure Delmarva Power has your current phone number registered in our automated Outage Management System so that we can identify your location and quickly locate the source of trouble. Customers can update phone numbers online at www.delmarva.com or by calling Customer Care at 1-800-375-7117.
  • Prepare an emergency survival kit. This would include a flashlight, battery-powered radio, fresh batteries, essential medication, nonperishable food and enough fresh water to last several days.
  • Develop a contingency plan, especially customers who in particular rely on electricity to power life-support equipment in their homes, such as respirators or kidney dialysis machines. Decide what to do in the event of an extended power outage, such as seeking temporary shelter with family or friends. As a reminder, Delmarva Power offers the Emergency Medical Equipment Notification Program. This program provides advance notice of scheduled outages and severe weather alerts to registered special needs customers. For details, call Customer Care at 1-800-375-7117.

Delmarva Power employees regularly prepare for the possibility of power outages and frequently participate in emergency drills. The company maintains supplies of essential equipment, such as poles, wires and transformers, and stays in contact with utilities throughout the region to quickly arrange mutual assistance in case of a natural disaster.

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Delmarva Power, a public utility owned by Pepco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: POM), provides safe and reliable energy to nearly 498,000 electric delivery customers in Delaware and Maryland and over 123,000 natural gas delivery customers in northern Delaware.