For Immediate Release
Additional Crews Brought In to Assist with Final Repairs
MAYS LANDING, N.J. - Heavy rains and high winds on Saturday hampered Atlantic City Electric crews trying to complete restoration after massive damage from a severe storm on Tuesday. Final restoration was expected by the end of the day Sunday, but complications caused by the extent of the underlying damage plus inclement weather through Saturday night will push restoration to a portion of customers into Monday.
On Saturday, Atlantic City Electric requested 155 more personnel to bolster those already working on the system. Service has been restored in many communities, but small, isolated pockets of damage that affect service to small groups and individual customers remain. Customers still without power will see adjusted estimated restoration times. All customers still out, or those who had service restored but lost power again, are urged to report their outages - even if they have reported them previously. Notifying the company about these remaining outages helps us to most efficiently direct our crews and speed the restoration of service to the final customers.
Saturday's inclement weather caused about 16,000 new outages, some of which may have affected customers that already had power restored from Tuesday's severe storm. The ground is saturated, and tree root systems may be unstable; this has made trees vulnerable and more likely to fall, causing new outages. New outages are added to our outage maps but are not differentiated.
Significant restoration progress continues. Hundreds of crews from Atlantic City Electric, sister utilities Pepco and Delmarva Power, as well as out-of-state utilities, are working around the clock and have restored power to almost 260,000 customers of the approximately 280,000 without power at peak from Tuesday's storm. To put the impact of this storm in perspective, during the height of the 2012 derecho, 206,000 Atlantic City Electric customers had lost power. Hurricane Sandy caused more than 220,000 power outages.
Roughly half of the total personnel are working in Gloucester County (approximately 650 field personnel). Five thousand customers still out of power are in the hardest hit areas of Deptford, Greenwich, East Greenwich, Mantua, Gibbstown, Washington Township, Winslow Township, Waterford Township, Gloucester Township, Wenonah, and Carneys Point. It is important to note that there are roads closed in the hardest hit areas and our crews are traveling with the local officials who are working on clearing the roads.
"We share our customers' frustration that additional poor weather has prevented us from getting power back on as quickly as we had expected for those final customers," said Susan Coan, Atlantic City Electric regional vice president. "We are working as quickly and safely as possible, and we won't slow that pace until service is restored to the last customer."
Tuesday's severe storm created straight-line winds in excess of 70 mph throughout many parts of the Atlantic City Electric service territory. In Gloucester County, where some of the worst damage occurred, a macroburst of approximately 85 mph lasted between five and 20 minutes. The National Weather Service said strong macrobursts can cause tornado-force damage. This one brought down trees and power lines, which caused significant damage to Atlantic City Electric's electric system infrastructure. Crews are finding countless utility poles and wires down across the system.
It is important to note that after major storms, weakened trees and limbs can continue to fall days later and cause new outages. Atlantic City Electric will be ready to respond to these, and urges customers who experience these outages to report them promptly.
Customers are reminded that even if crews are not immediately visible in neighborhoods, they are out and actively engaged in the restoration process. During major events, Atlantic City Electric follows industry best practices to restore power and get the largest number of customers on as quickly and safely as possible. First, repairs are made on high-voltage transmission lines, which can serve tens of thousands of customers. This work requires large numbers of crews and can be lengthy. That work is necessary first before restoration of substations, which can serve 15,000 to 20,000 customers. When substations are operating, crews then turn to distribution feeders, or primary power lines, which can serve more than 1,200 customers. Restoring power to primary lines returns service to most customers on those lines except to those with localized damage. Lastly, individual trouble spots are then repaired.
Atlantic City Electric and support personnel from sister utilities Delmarva Power and Pepco, as well as PECO, JCP&L, and PSE&G, number more than 1600; including 395 tree personnel and additional support personnel. Staging areas have been set up in Washington and Shamong townships to coordinate the mutual assistance crews.
Atlantic City Electric on Saturday also announced a $50,000 donation to the American Red Cross in recognition of its community support and work for victims of the storm.
Atlantic City Electric customers still without power should report their outage at www.atlanticcityelectric.com; via the mobile app, available for download at atlanticcityelectric.com/mobile app; or by calling 1-800-833-7476. Power restoration to essentially all customers who can safely accept service is expected by the end of day Sunday.
To keep up-to-date, customers are encouraged to visit www.atlanticcityelectric.com and listen to local radio stations for updates.
Atlantic City Electric Emphasizes Importance of Safety
Safety is paramount for Atlantic City Electric's customers and employees. The company urges the public to stay alert, as conditions may remain hazardous. It is critical to stay clear of downed wires and report them by calling 1-800-833-7476 and following the voice prompts. Other important safety recommendations include:
A full list of safety tips can be found at www.atlanticcityelectric.com/safety-101.aspx.
Customers Asked to Report Power Outages
Customers are asked to report outages at www.atlanticcityelectric.com or by calling 1-800-833-7476 and follow the voice prompts. Customers' reports are vital to Atlantic City Electric's restoration efforts because they help the company identify the location of outages more quickly. Each household should report an outage; a neighbor's call will not indicate that you are out of power as well.
Atlantic City Electric also recommends that when reporting an outage, customers request a call back, which means that the company will contact customers to ensure power has been restored. The call back process helps Atlantic City Electric during the area-based restoration process to locate outages that may be specific to customers' homes, such as an issue with the service wire to an individual house.
For additional information and updates, visit www.atlanticcityelectric.com. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atlanticcityelectric and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/acelecconnect. Our mobile app is available at www.atlanticcityelectric.com/mobileapp.