Massive Storm Could Cause Unprecedented Outages Across the Mid-Atlantic Northeast Restoration May Extend More Than a Week
Mays Landing, N.J . - Atlantic City Electric is standing ready to repair damages caused by the ferocious winds and rains from Hurricane Sandy that is causing immense destruction, extreme flooding and millions of power outages throughout the mid-Atlantic and northeastern United States. As of 7 p.m. the company is reporting approximately 125,000 outages throughout its service area. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has declared a state of emergency because of the expected unprecedented devastation.
All available utility crews east of the Rocky Mountains have been committed to assist Eastern Seaboard utilities with the restoration effort. PHI, Atlantic City Electric’s parent’s company, has secured 1,563 line personnel from states as far away as Texas and Mississippi. A significant number of outside line personnel have already arrived at Atlantic City Electric’s staging areas and are prepared for deployment. Atlantic City Electric is working to secure additional commitments as utilities release crews as the storm’s path becomes clear. Crews will be deployed once the dangers caused by winds and flooding have subsided.
In addition, Atlantic City Electric has more than 700 internal and contract line personnel, and tree removal personnel in place and ready for quick mobilization. More than 375 customer call representatives are available to answer calls, about 180 assessors are ready to identify storm damage, and a few hundred support personnel are working on special storm response roles.
“Atlantic City Electric 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 Vince Maione, Region President, Atlantic City Electric. “However, based on the unprecedented damage that is expected, the restoration period may extend more than a week.”
Sandy is an agonizingly slow storm and is expected to produce high sustained winds over a prolonged period. OSHA 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, Atlantic City Electric 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 Atlantic City Electric to make the wires safe.
In response to customer feedback, Atlantic City Electric has made enhancements to online and mobile tools to track and report outages. Atlantic City Electric urges customers to view it’s utility website at atlanticcityelectric.com to learn more about these tools as well as to view safety and storm preparation tips. Customers should report their outage through our Call Center at 1-800-833-7476, through atlanticcityelectric.com, or through our mobile app, available for downloading at Atlanticcityelectric/mobileapp.
In the event severe weather causes widespread damage to the electric system, Atlantic City Electric 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:
o Downed live wires or potentially life-threatening situations and public health and safety facilities without power.
o Transmission lines serving thousands of customers.
o Substation equipment.
o Main distribution lines serving large numbers of customers.
o Secondary lines serving neighborhoods.
o Service lines to individual homes and businesses.
· 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 a pet, make sure there is a supply of food available for them. Be sure to take you pet with you if you have to leave home. Identify pet-friendly motels 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 using manual controls 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.
Contacting Atlantic City Electric
· All outages and downed wires should be reported to 1-800-833-7476. Outages and downed wires also can be report through atlanticcityelectric.com., or through our mobile app, available for downloading at Atlanticcityelectric.com/mobileapp. Customers should request a call back to verify their power has been restored.
Atlantic City Electric, a public utility owned by Pepco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: POM), provides safe, reliable and affordable regulated electric delivery services to more than 550,000 customers in southern New Jersey.