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Delmarva Power Responds to Snow, Sleet, Rain and High Winds

Newark, Del.- The blustery winter storm Jonas arrived overnight Friday and continues to bring significant snowfall and high winds to the Delmarva Power service territory. Delmarva Power has restored power to more than 29,000 customers since winter storm Jonas began. As of 1 p.m. Saturday, the utility reported fewer than 1,000 customers without power. The hardest hit areas are in Sussex County, Del., and in Worcester County, MD.

"Our system has not experienced extensive damage, but this storm is far from over, said Gary Stockbridge, president, Delmarva Power Region. "We will work around the clock as quickly and safely as possible to restore any outages that may occur, but customers need to be prepared for the possibility of service interruptions that could last multiple days depending on how severe the damage could be to the electric system."

Delmarva Power employees have a second role during emergencies, actively participating in the restoration effort. In addition to internal crews available 24 hours a day throughout the weekend, the local utility has overhead line contractors and tree crews for a total of approximately 450 line personnel available to assist in any restoration effort. Delmarva Power also coordinates with state, county and local emergency management officials during severe storm events. Delmarva Power personnel are staffed at some local Offices of Emergency Management that are activated. If requested, the utility will staff additional local Offices of Emergency Management, upon activation.

Delmarva Power will prioritize its restoration effort by first addressing damage to its critical electric infrastructure including transmission lines and substation equipment as well as hospitals, fire and police stations and water filtration plants. Next, crews repair the main distribution lines that serve the largest number of customers, followed by single customers in rural areas.

High winds and heavy, wet snow can weigh down tree limbs and bring them into contact with power lines causing power outages. Wet snow can also adversely affect saturated soil and allow trees already weakened by previous storms to fall onto power lines and equipment, causing power outages. Outages can also occur due to drivers skidding into utility poles along icy and snow-covered roads.

The northern portion of Delmarva Power's service territory includes delivering natural gas to more than 127,000 customers. The utility urges safety and awareness around its natural gas equipment in northern New Castle County.

"We know the nature of this storm is resulting in high snow drifts around our natural gas equipment, making it imperative for safety and awareness when plowing and digging out from this weekend's snowstorm," said Stockbridge.

As customers plow and dig out from the storm, Delmarva Power asks customers to be careful and identify the location of natural gas piping and metering equipment around homes and businesses. Those plowing with trucks should be mindful of the location of gas meters and piping to avoid damage.

Winter Natural Gas Safety Tips:

  • When clearing snow and ice from this equipment, be careful not to damage it and accidentally cause a gas leak;
  • Be sure to clear snow from the vents of natural gas-fired appliances to ensure safe and proper operation of this equipment. These appliances include heaters, water heaters, natural gas fireplaces and clothes dryers. These appliances rely on an uninterrupted supply of fresh air to work properly. Blowing and drifting snow could block the intake and exhaust vents, forcing appliances to automatically shut down and possibly cause serious damage to the equipment. Some vents are as low as 12 inches above the ground;
  • Make sure your gas meter is free from snow and ice by gently clearing snow using a broom or large brush. Do not use a sharp tool to chip ice away - this can cause damage or break the gas meter;
  • Repair gutters and downspouts that drip water onto your meter; and
  • If the gas meter is encased in ice and you experience problems with your gas service, or if you smell gas, please immediately call our gas emergency number at 1-302-454-0317

General Storm Safety Tips:

  • Everyone should stay clear of working crews and any wires hanging loose from poles or lying on the ground; always assume downed wires are energized and avoid them. Call 1-800-898-8042 and follow the prompts to report a downed wire.
  • Customers should check their emergency supply kits and be prepared in case power is interrupted. Additional information on storm preparedness can be found by visiting www.delmarva.com, Facebook at www.facebook.com/delmarvapower and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/delmarvapower.
  • The Call Center is staffed around the clock. Customers may call 1-800-898-8042 to report outages and check the status of their outages; they also may use our mobile app (available for download at www.delmarva.com/mobileapp) and our website, delmarva.com.
  • The storm center at delmarva.com highlights important information for customers through all stages of the restoration effort and allows them to easily report and track outages.
  • The Delmarva Power website also has the ability to work in concert with Delmarva Power's Mobile App 2.0. The continuously updated free mobile app provides customers with access to My Account, storm preparation and restoration information and Delmarva Power social media, available for download at www.delmarva.com/mobileapp.
  • In the event of a power outage, gather in a central room where you have alternative heat. At night, cover windows with drapes or blankets to minimize heat loss. During the day, open blinds to let sun warm the space. If the indoor temperature drops to 55 degrees Fahrenheit or below, open your faucets slightly so they constantly drip to prevent pipes from freezing. If candles and heaters are used, never leave them unattended and watch children and pets that could knock them over.
  • If using a personal generator, never use a generator indoors or inside an attached garage. A portable generator is an internal combustion engine that exhausts a deadly gas called carbon monoxide or CO. Be sure to place the generator outside where exhaust fumes will not enter into enclosed spaces. 
  • Do not connect your generator directly to your home's wiring. If a generator is plugged into the electrical circuits of a home, power can back-feed into the utility company lines, which can injure or kill utility workers fixing downed power lines. It also can cause downed lines to re-energize.
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