For Immediate Release
Additional 1,560 Outside Restoration Personnel Secured by PHI
Massive Storm Could Cause Unprecedented Outages Across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast
Restoration Likely to Extend More Than a Week
NEWARK, Del. - Delmarva Power has worked extensively to prepare for the ferocious winds and rains that are impacting the mid-Atlantic region as a result of Hurricane Sandy. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has issued a federal emergency declaration for jurisdictions in our region as immense destruction, extreme flooding and millions of power outages are expected throughout the northeastern United States. Maryland and Delaware governors have declared states of emergency because of the expected unprecedented devastation.
All available utility crews east of the Rocky Mountains have been committed to the restoration effort on the Eastern seaboard. Pepco Holdings Inc. (PHI), Delmarva Power's parent company, has secured line personnel from states as far away as Texas and Mississippi. A significant number of outside line personnel have already arrived at Delmarva Power's staging grounds at the Fisker Plant in Wilmington, Del., and the Perdue Shorebirds stadium in Salisbury, Md. PHI is working to secure additional commitments as utilities release crews as the storm's path becomes clear. Crews will be deployed based upon greatest damage and need.
In addition, Delmarva Power has 423 internal and contract line personnel and 292 tree removal personnel on the system and ready for quick mobilization. More than 375 customer call representatives are available to answer calls, 232 assessors are ready to identify storm damage, and approximately 650 support personnel are working in their special storm response roles.
"Delmarva Power has committed all its resources to Hurricane Sandy. We are actively working this storm so we can restore power as quickly and safely as possible," said Gary Stockbridge, Delmarva Power Region President. "However, based on the unprecedented damage that is expected, the restoration period is likely to extend more than a week."
Sandy is an agonizingly slow storm and is expected to produce high sustained winds over a prolonged period. Federal safety regulations do not allow overhead work to be performed in sustained winds of 35 mph or more. As a result, the initiation of damage assessment and restoration work will depend on when the storm passes and winds subside. A thorough damage assessment is critical to deploying resources most effectively and efficiently.
For their safety, Delmarva Power urges the public to stay clear of wires hanging loose from poles or lying on the ground. Customers should not attempt to move them. Customers should call Delmarva Power to make the wires safe.
In response to customer feedback, Delmarva Power has made enhancements to online and mobile tools to track and report outages. Delmarva Power urges customers to view the utility website at delmarva.com/storm to learn more about these tools as well as to view safety and storm preparation tips. Customers should report outages through our Call Center:
Delaware Customers: New Castle County: 1-800-898-8042; Kent and Sussex counties: 1-800-898-8045
Maryland Customers: Cecil and Harford counties: 1-800-898-8042; Eastern Shore: 1-800-898-8045
Customers can also report outages through www.delmarva.com, or through our mobile app, available for downloading at delmarva.com/mobileapp.
To report a Natural Gas Emergency please call: 302-454-0317.
Our website also has tips on how to prepare for storms and outages. Visit Delmava.com and click on "Outages and Emergency Preparedness."
In the event severe weather causes widespread damage to the electric system, Delmarva Power will restore power by targeting wires serving critical infrastructure, such as hospitals, fire stations and police stations, as well as those serving the greatest number of customers. This is similar to clearing roads after a snow storm. Major roads and thoroughfares must be cleared first before secondary roads and neighborhood streets are plowed. Generally the sequence is as follows:
· 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 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. If you have pets, make sure there is a supply of food available for them. Be sure to take your pet with you if you have to leave home. Identify pet-friendly motels and shelters ahead of time.
· 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.
· Fill your gas tank so you can run your automobile to charge mobile devices. Be sure to open garage doors to run the vehicle safely.
Generator Safety Tips
If you plan to use a portable generator during power outages, here are important safety precautions:
· Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when using a generator.
· Locate your generator in a well-ventilated area. Never run it inside, even in your garage. Gasoline powered generators produce carbon monoxide and the fumes can be deadly. Store gasoline or other flammable liquids outside of living areas in properly marked approved containers. They should also not be stored in a garage if a fuel-burning appliance is located there.
· Plug appliances directly into the generator, using heavy-duty, properly grounded extension cords. Make sure extension cords are not frayed or worn.
· Use the generator only when necessary, and don't overload it. Turn it off at night while you sleep and when you are away from home to avoid a possible fire hazard.
· For your safety and the safety of employees working to restore power, do not connect your generator directly into your home's main fuse box or circuit panel. Improperly connected generators can feed electricity back into the electrical system, endangering field personnel working to restore your power. Consult a qualified electrical contractor if a permanent generator installation is desired.
Other Safety Tips
· 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 from downed wires. Assume any downed wire is energized.
Delmarva Power and Light Company, 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 124,000 natural gas delivery customers in northern Delaware .