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Delmarva Power Prepares for Atlantic Hurricane Season

OCEAN CITY, Md./ REHOBOTH, Del.  - With the start of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season just a few days away, officials from Delmarva Power, area municipalities and emergency services agencies held joint news conferences in Ocean City, Md., and Rehoboth, Del., today to remind the public that it's time to prepare for the possibility that destructive tropical weather could hit the region any time between June 1 and Nov. 30.

Meteorologists are predicting a "well-below-average" hurricane season with seven tropical storms (sustained winds of 39 mph or higher) of which three could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher).

"Despite the early prediction of a less active season, it is essential that all of us remain vigilant and be prepared for hurricane season. We want our customers to know that we are committed to an emergency response system that makes safety a priority, restores power as quickly as possible and provides customers with information on how to prepare for and deal with weather-related outages.  said Jim Smith, Delmarva Power senior public affairs manager. "We'll be prepared to add more personnel and resources as needed and work with local governments through our Emergency Services Partnership Program to activate emergency procedures."

Delmarva Power employees prepare for the possibility of storm-related power outages by participating in emergency drills on a regular basis. In addition, the company maintains an adequate supply of essential equipment, such as poles, wires and transformers, and stays in contact with other utilities to quickly arrange for mutual assistance in case of a natural disaster.

"We also believe that preventive maintenance is essential in reducing the potential for service

interruptions caused by stormy weather," said Smith. "We plan to invest more than $1 billion over the next several years to upgrade our electric infrastructure. We'll also spend several million dollars this year on tree trimming near power lines to help avoid outages that can be caused by trees and limbs that fall during storms."

Delmarva Power suggests that customers assemble an emergency kit that can be used at home and, if necessary, taken with them if they're ordered to evacuate. Each kit should include a flashlight, battery-powered clock and radio, extra batteries, non-perishable food, manual can opener, bottled water and a list of important phone numbers. All items can be placed into a large cooler which is easy to grab if a person has to leave home quickly.

Delmarva Power also provides a "Storm Preparation Handbook" that can be downloaded from its website (www.delmarva.com) or you can call Customer Care at 800-375-7117 to request a copy via mail.

Smith was joined at today's events by Clay Stamp, Executive Director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency; Joe Theobald, Ocean City's Emergency Services Director; Fred Webster, Director of Worcester County Emergency Services; Joe Thomas, Director of the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center; Bill Sammler, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service; Sharon Lynn, City Manager of Rehoboth Beach; and Patrick Delaney, Executive Director of the American Red Cross of Delmarva.

"While the last two hurricane seasons have been relatively quiet, we all remember the devastation from Hurricane Sandy in 2012, especially in the New York City area and on Maryland's Lower Eastern Shore," said Stamp. "It's important for us to always be prepared because even in a quiet hurricane season, just one hurricane making landfall in our area can be devastating."

"Whatever the forecast, residents and property owners should never be lulled into a sense of complacency because it only takes one storm to destroy property and threaten lives," said Thomas. "One step residents can take ahead of hurricane season is to create a Safety Profile for their household with Sussex County's free Smart911.com service to provide potentially critical, life-saving information up front to first responders. Profiles can contain as much or as little information as users want, including details about their properties, special medical conditions and family contacts." 

"Regardless of the seasonal hurricane forecast, it only takes one storm to cause a disaster on the Delmarva Peninsula," said Sammler. "We should prepare as if every year will be the year of a disaster."

Find additional information by visiting www.delmarva.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/delmarvapower and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/delmarvaconnect. Our mobile app is available at www.delmarva.com/mobileapp.

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