1,500 personnel mobilized for nine-day restoration
At 2:15 p.m., today, Atlantic City Electric successfully restored service to all customers who lost power as a result of the derecho (violent and destructive wind storm) that hit the area early Saturday, June 30. At the storm's peak, more than 206,000 Atlantic City Electric customers lost power.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the storm left more than 3.8 million customers without power throughout the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. A report issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Sunday morning, July 8, states that more than 146,000 customers remain without power due to the derecho. FEMA attributes 34 fatalities to the storm and reports that more than 30 overnight mass care shelters were open in five states as citizens continue to cope with the derecho's aftermath. Because of the storm's devastating impact, the mayor of Washington, DC and the governors of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio all declared a state of emergency.
With the support of about 1,500 total personnel, Atlantic City Electric worked full force, around the clock, to restore power to customers impacted by the storm. The vast majority of customers were restored by Wednesday, July 4. A number of outages persisted into the weekend due to heavy localized tree damage that impeded progress and made repairs more challenging.
Customers Asked to Report Power Outages
Although the derecho provided little warning, in preparation for the possible weekend thunderstorms, Atlantic City Electric activated its emergency incident response plan early on Saturday, June 30, holding over line crews, securing local contractors, activating its internal emergency response personnel and reviewing material inventories. By 4 a.m., Saturday, June 30, many Atlantic City Electric employees were on deck, outside reinforcements were being aggressively recruited and a comprehensive damage assessment and initial restoration effort begun. By Monday, hundreds of outside crew members had arrived to support the restoration effort. That number would grow to a total force of about 1,400 Atlantic City Electric, local contractor and out-of-state field crew personnel. These crews remained hard at work through the following weekend. Including support personnel, Atlantic City Electric had a total of more than 1,500 resources dedicated to the restoration effort.
To help process incoming crews and strategically distribute materials, a large staging area was set up and running by Saturday afternoon, June 30 at the Atlantic City Race Track.
To keep customers informed, Atlantic City Electric proactively updated Twitter, Facebook, the mobile outage reporting and tracking application, and the website, which experienced a significant amount of increased traffic. Atlantic City Electric also answered thousands of customer phone calls, issued continual press updates, held press conferences, conducted countless media interviews and held daily conference calls with government officials.
Atlantic City Electric personnel staffed the state and local emergency management agencies and emergency operations centers and the company was in constant contact with fire departments and departments of transportation to ensure a coordinated community response.
The extreme heat forecast for the remainder of the weekend, combined with existing storm-related damage to the electric system and high demand for electricity may cause additional outages. Atlantic City Electric asks customers to continue conserving electricity.
The following tips will help customers reduce their energy use:
- During hot weather, a central air conditioner can account for 30 percent of a customer's energy bill. Atlantic City Electric suggests checking the air filter regularly - a clean air filter improves system efficiency, which should lead to energy savings.
- Set your thermostat at 78 degrees Fahrenheit, a reasonably comfortable and energy-efficient indoor temperature.
- Have a professional check your air conditioning system to ensure that it works properly and is not leaking coolant.
- Be sure all windows are shut and outside doors are closed when the air conditioning is on.
- It is important not to have lamps, televisions or other heat sources close to the air conditioner thermostat. Heat from these sources may cause the air conditioner unit to run longer than it should.
- Check to ensure that no furniture or other obstacles are blocking ducts or fans. This will enable cooled air to circulate freely, making your home more comfortable.
To learn more, visit www.atlanticcityelectric.com/energy/conservation/.