Delmarva Power Monitors Hurricane Irene; Utility Prepares for Restoration of Service
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Outages Could be Widespread; Restoration Could be Multi-Day Event
Utility Requests Mutual Assistance Crews; Customers Urged to Prepare
NEWARK, Del . – Delmarva Power is closely monitoring the approach of Hurricane Irene, which could strike the Delmarva Power service territory mid-day Saturday. Weather services are predicting that the area will experience heavy rain and high winds over a sustained period this weekend, which could cause widespread and extended power outages. The subsequent restoration could be a multi-day event. Delmarva Power has initiated its Incident Response Plan and is strongly urging customers to prepare for the possibility of outages.
“Delmarva Power prepares year-round for severe weather systems, such as Hurricane Irene. We are prepared for the possibility of extended power outages and will work hard to restore power as safely and quickly as possible,” said Gary Stockbridge, President, Delmarva Power Region. “We also ask our customers to prepare for this weather event, and thank them in advance for their patience as we work tirelessly to make the repairs necessary to restore power.”
Delmarva Power Mobilizes Crews and Staff
In anticipation of the storm, Delmarva Power and its parent company, Pepco Holdings, Inc. (PHI), began aggressively planning and preparing for the storm on Monday. Early on, PHI requested the assistance of 600 personnel from other utilities; 150 from First Energy in Ohio already have been made available; and an additional 80 contract personnel. These crews will be deployed depending on the location of the greatest damage. Delmarva Power’s line crews are prepared to work extended hours and the company has alerted additional staff to provide support services, including customer service staff.
Delmarva Power is continuing to participate on Mid-Atlantic Mutual Assistance and Southeastern Electric Exchange conference calls with other utilities to request additional field crew assistance as needed. The company has been in contact with state and local emergency management agencies to ensure a coordinated community response.
Depending on the severity of the storm, damage to Delmarva Power’s electrical infrastructure could be extensive and power restoration could be a multiple-day event. After severe storms, assessing damage and estimating when customers will be restored could take up to 24 hours after the heart of the storm has moved from the area. Crews are deployed to restore service only when weather conditions become safe.
Customers Urged to Prepare and Be Safe
Delmarva Power urges its customers to prepare for potential power outages and act to ensure their safety. Here are some tips:
- Have adequate prescription medicines or infant supplies on hand.
- If you or someone you know uses life-support equipment that requires electricity to operate, identify a location with emergency power capabilities and make plans to go there or to a hospital during a prolonged outage.
- Assemble an emergency "storm kit." Include a battery-powered radio or television, flashlight, a first-aid kit, battery-powered or windup clock, extra batteries, special needs items, an insulated cooler and a list of important and emergency phone numbers.
- Keep at least a three-day supply of non-perishable foods and bottled water and have a hand-operated can opener available.
- Have a telephone with a cord or cell phone to use as a backup. Cordless telephones require electricity to operate, and won't work if there is an outage.
- Protect your electronic equipment. Unplug sensitive electronics or plug computers and other sensitive equipment into surge suppressors, and consider a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) for temporary battery backup power.
- Turn off power to flood-prone basement appliances if it is safe to do so. However, if you have an electrically operated sump pump, you should not turn off your power.
- Tune in to local news broadcasts for the latest weather and emergency information.
- Follow the advice of your local emergency management officials.
- Take cover if necessary.
- Stay away from downed wires.
If you experience an outage or see a downed or damaged power line, call Delmarva Power:
Delaware: New Castle County: 1-800-898-8042; Kent and Sussex counties: 1-800-898-8045
Maryland: Cecil and Harford counties: 1-800-898-8042; Eastern Shore: 1-800-898-8045
To report a Delmarva natural gas emergency in New Castle County, Del.: 302-454-0317
Delmarva Power, a public utility owned by Pepco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: POM), provides safe and reliable energy to more than 500,000 electric delivery customers in Delaware and Maryland and over 122,000 natural gas delivery customers in northern Delaware .