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For Immediate Release


Salt on Power Lines May Cause Momentary Service Interruptions

SALISBURY, Md. - Some Delmarva Power customers in the Atlantic Ocean coastal areas in Delaware and Maryland are experiencing momentary power interruptions caused by salt contamination on the utility's power lines.

Several hundred customers began experiencing brief interruptions in their electric service late Sunday night. Typically, customers are seeing their lights blink repeatedly as they lose power momentarily. The salt contamination of the power lines and equipment is caused by prevailing winds bringing salt-laden air inland from the Atlantic Ocean.

The combination of salt and moisture can cause arcing, sparking, blown fuses, pole fires and extensive power outages.

Utility crews are using pressurized water hoses to wash the salt from lines and equipment today. The Sussex County Emergency Operations Center and volunteer fire departments from Bethany Beach, Millville, Roxana, Dagsboro and Frankford, Del., are providing assistance. Washing will be concentrated on a power line located between the Indian River Inlet and Bethany Beach, Del.

To perform such work safely, lines and equipment are de-energized, which means some customers could experience intermittent power interruptions.

"To get rid of the salt contamination problem, we need to power-wash the lines or hope for a hard rainfall," said John Allen, Delmarva Power region vice president. Allen said that salt buildup on power line insulators causes electrical faults. "To protect itself, our system reacts to the faults and our customers see brief, power interruptions."

If customers see downed wires, or notice loud noises or electrical arcing, they should stay away from the wires and call Delmarva Power at 1-800-898-8045.

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