Emergency and Outage Contact Info for Baltimore Gas and Electric Customers

Tuesday April 17, 2012
Posted at 09:13

If you live in the Baltimore, Maryland area and Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) delivers gas or electricity to your home, here’s the information you need to contact the utility in case of an emergency or power outage:

For emergencies, call 800.685.0123, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If there’s a downed or damaged power line or if you smell natural gas, first make sure you’re safe by leaving the area immediately, then call BGE to report the emergency.

For power outages, call 877.778.2222, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If there’s a power outage, BGE relies on you to call it in. Make sure the phone number on your account is handy, as the utility will use it to verify your identity and location.

For streetlight outages, call 410.470.9446 or 800.685.0123. You can also fill out an outage report online.

If you need assistance, foreign-language interpreters are available for Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Korean and other non-English speaking customers.

BGE Offers Refrigerator Recycling for Residential Electricity Customers

Maryland refrigerator recycling

If you’re a residential electricity customer of Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) and you have an old refrigerator or freezer you’re thinking about ditching, the utility has an offer that just might help you make your decision.

BGE, through its Smart Energy Savers Program, is willing to swing by your home, pick up your unwanted refrigerator or freezer, recycle it, and give you $50 for your trouble.

According to the utility, more than 95 percent of each refrigerator and freezer is recycled by the program, which means that less than 5 percent of each appliance makes its way into a landfill. Plus, BGE says that you can cut your annual energy use by about $100 if you get rid of that second refrigerator or freezer in your garage or basement.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of BGE’s refrigerator and freezer recycling program, here are a few things you should know:

  • Regardless of whether you buy your electricity from BGE or an alternative Baltimore electricity supplier like Spark Energy, BGE must be the company that delivers your electricity and you must have a valid BGE account number
  • You must own the refrigerator or freezer
  • Appliances must have a capacity of between 10 and 27 cubic feet
  • The appliance must work
  • The appliance will be picked up at the address listed on your BGE billing account for no charge
  • You can have up to two appliances recycled through the program
  • You’ll get a check for $50 for each appliance recycled; checks will be mailed to your billing account address within four weeks of the time your appliance is picked up

To recycle a refrigerator or freezer through BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program, you can call the utility at 866.898.1901 to schedule a pickup.

Sources

Refrigerator and Freezer Recycling, BGE Smart Energy Savers Program.

How Long Will the Power Be Out After Hurricane Irene?

Wednesday August 31, 2011
Posted at 11:05

Ahead of the storm, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano noted that, "we do anticipate a significant amount of power outages with this particular storm." A FEMA Administrator agreed, saying that strong winds and flash flooding were expected to impact those inland as well as along the coast.

With some estimates that over 4 million homes and businesses were without power in the wake of Hurricane Irene across the Eastern Seaboard, we can see that predictions of mass power outages across the region came true for many.

Hurricane Irene Heavily Impacted the Electric Grid

A US Department of Energy report released Monday morning collected data from utilities’ outage information and helped give us an overall view of the impact of Hurricane Irene:

  1. Rhode Island – 64% of customers out
  2. Connecticut – 44% of customers out
  3. Maryland – 22% of customers out
  4. New Jersey – 20% of customers out
  5. New Hampshire – 20% of customers out
  6. Massachusetts – 19% of customers out
  7. Virginia – 19% of customers out
  8. New York – 12% of customers out

Please continue to report outages – utility systems can locate generalized outages, but it can be difficult to pinpoint specific outage locations. To find contact information for your utility, see our list here.

When Will My Power Be Back On? How Many People are Still Out?

Philadelphia: 225,000 were without power in Eastern Pennsylvania on Monday, according to PECO. Bucks County reports 81,000 outages; Delaware County 64,000; Chester County 57,000; Montgomery County 14,000; and Philadelphia County 9,000 outages. PECO says they’ve already restored power to 300,000 customers and that 90% of the remaining outages should be repaired by Today. The remainder can expect their power to be back on before the weekend. SEPTA reports having three train routes out: Cynwyd, Trenton, and Paoli/Malvern. The Norristown line is reported to have begun running Monday afternoon. UPDATE: PECO now reports 47,000 out of power on Wednesday morning throughout the region.

New York City: More than 106,000 of ConEdison’s 3.2 million customers remained without power as of Monday afternoon. ConEdison intentionally cut electricity to some of its service area prior to the storm due to expected saltwater inundation of electrical equipment. ConEdison estimates that most customers in New York City will have power returned by Tuesday and most Westchester County residents should be restored by Thursday. ConEdison is supplying dry ice in several locations to help keep food refrigerated. MTA trains and busses were almost back up to normal by early Monday morning, including the Staten Island Train starting back up Sunday night. UPDATE: 32,000 outages are reported Tuesday evening. ConEdison says 83% of customers have been restored.

Long Island: The Long Island Power Authority said 400,000 customers were without power on Monday. 90% of these homes and businesses can expect to have power by Friday, with the remainder restored by the weekend or early next week, according to a LIPA representative. UPDATE: 190,000 are still out of power on Long Island in Nassau and Suffolk counties, about 16% of all customers. "Irene left behind a level of damage that we have not seen on Long Island in almost 30 years," the public utility said.

New Jersey: 715,000 utility customers were reportedly without power Monday morning across the state. 60,000 of those being within the PSE&G service territory. Crews with PSE&G are prioritizing downed lines and other emergencies. PSE&G and Jersey Central Power & Light said that rivers must recede before service can be restored. "That takes days," PSE&G spokeswoman Karen Johnson said. "The flooding is kind of overwhelming." UPDATE: PSE&G reports 74,000 customers out, about 4% of its 2.1 million customers. Jersey Central Power & Light still shows 187,000 outages – about 20% of their 1.1 million customers. "Currently there are 200 poles and almost 40 miles of wire that need to be replaced before we complete our restoration," said JCP&L spokesman Ron Morano.

Connecticut: 594,000 CL&P customers and 107,000 UI customers were out of power at noon on Monday. Connecticut Light & Power had restored 163,000 customers and a spokesman said that crews had responded to hospitals and police/emergency facilities first. The 770,000 outages at the height of the storm set a new record, breaking the previous record of 477,000 outages after Hurricane Gloria in 1985. Governor Malloy and CL&P officials said that it could be a week before customers get their power back on. "This is just unprecedented," the utility's spokesman, David Radanovich, said. "The largest storm we've ever faced." UPDATE: 370,000 utility customers still remain out of power in Connecticut – 308,000 of which are CL&P customers. 62,000 United Illuminating customers are out as of Wednesday.

Baltimore: Approximately 139,000 customers within the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) territory were out of power as of Monday. About 680,000 lost power at some point during Irene, with 466,000 being the highest number of simultaneous outages. BGE has restored power to 327,000 customers in less than 48 hours and expects to restore the majority of the remainder of outages by late Friday. Isolated outages may remain until Saturday. "Just lots of trees down," said Linda Foy with Baltimore Gas & Electric. "We've got whole trees knocked into equipment; large limbs the size of small trees hanging on power lines." UPDATE: 155,800 outages still exist for BGE customers, as of 6am Wednesday. BGE spokesman Rob Gould told WBAL-TV that most customers should get electricity back on today.

Delmarva Peninsula: 40,000 Delmarva Power customers were reported out of power Monday. At the height of the storm, about 220,000 customers were without power and the company expects to restore power to the majority of these customers by Wednesday. UPDATE: Delmarva Power says that about 5,000 customers are still out of power as of midnight, Wednesday. About 97% of the 164,000 who had lost power have been restored.

Washington DC: 71,000 power outages still exist in the PEPCO service territory as of Monday, including about 16,000 in Montgomery County; 44,000 in Prince George’s County; and 21,000 in Washington D.C. PEPCO said customers can expect power to be on by Thursday evening, but most customers can expect the power to be on sooner. UPDATE: As of Tuesday afternoon, PEPCO reported about 4,000 customers still out in Prince George’s County. "We will be done by Thursday at 7 p.m.," says Thomas Graham, Pepco president. "All customers will be restored. That's the goal we're shooting for. The vast majority of our customers will be restored before then."

Boston: 500,000 customers in the region lost power at the height of the storm. National Grid reports about 325,000 outages and NStar is reporting 200,000 outages as of Monday afternoon. “The damage is so extensive that in many places, we essentially have to re-build the electric system so we can restore power to customers,” said Werner Schweiger, NStar’s senior vice president of operations. “Given the sheer amount of work to be done, we know this will be a very time-consuming process.” UPDATE: About 108,000 outages still exist in Massachusetts towns according to National Grid on Wednesday. NStar reports 37,000 customers offline in the South Shore and Cape Cod areas.

Virginia: 270,000 customers in the Richmond area were still out of power Monday afternoon. Dominion Virginia Power has said it plans to have 75 percent of customers restored by Today, and 90-95 percent restored by Friday. Remaining outages should be repaired by Saturday. UPDATE: 180,000 in central Virginia remain without power, about 40% of the Richmond and Tri-City areas. 69,501 customers have been restored according to Dominion Virginia Power. Dominion spokesman Chet Wade said that they’re ahead of pace to meet their Friday goal of restoring power to all customers.

Rhode Island: 282,000 National Grid customers in Rhode Island are reportedly in the dark as of Monday Morning. The state was the most heavily impacted by Hurricane Irene, with 64% of customers out of power. UPDEATE: 113,000 were still reported out of power by Wednesday morning. "What you see here is a 24 hour operation with more than 1,000 people restoring power here in Rhode Island. We're getting customers back as quick as we can," Tim Horan, President of National Grid.

Vermont: 37,500 of 55,000 Central Vermont Public Service customers were still without electricity as of 7 a.m. Monday morning. “We have a tremendous roster of workers to assist us, but this will be one of the most challenging recovery efforts any of us has ever lived through,” said Joe Kraus, senior vice president for engineering, operations and customer service. Kraus said that customers should be prepared for extended outages, as roads and bridges in some areas are still impassable. UPDATE: 14,300 customers are still report off the grid as of Wednesday morning.

New Hampshire: 5,300 customers in the New Hampshire Electric Co-op territory were still without power on Monday, down from a high of 32,000 on Sunday night. Estimated restoration times range from noon Tuesday to noon Wednesday. UPDATE: Public Service Co. of New Hampshire reported 29,000 outages at noon on Tuesday, and New Hampshire Electroc Co-op is reporting 1,600 remaining. National Grid is reporting 11 outages, and Unitil has restored all New Hampshire customers.

Maine: 149,000 customers in Maine were reportedly still out of power Monday afternoon, with 137,000 customers of Central Maine Power, and 12,000 Bangor Hydro-Electric customers in the dark. Utility crews from Canada joined Maine’s own utility crews to help restore power. Maine Public Service customers had all power restored to all customers by late Monday. UPDATE: 44,000 Central Maine Power customers remain out of power Wednesday morning. Bangor Hydro reports less than 270 customers without power.

Sources

"Power outages continue across Maryland" - Baltimore Business Journal, August 29, 2011.
"Power Outages, Trains Biggest Irene Issues" - myfoxphilly.com, August 29, 2011.
"Is Con Edison Doing Enough to Repair Power in Your Area?" - White Plains Patch, August 29, 2011.
"4M without power as Hurricane Irene heads north" - Associated Press, August 28, 2011.
"Napolitano warns of many power outages from Irene" - Reuters, August 26, 2011.
"In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, flooding, power outages and road closures are causing headaches" - Newark Star-Ledger, August 29, 2011.
"Hurricane Irene still has 225,000 Peco customers powerless" - Philadelphia Business Journal, August 29, 2011.
"BGE expects to restore most service by Friday" - abc2news.com, August 29, 2011.
"HURRICANE: Delmarva Power continues restoration efforts" - delmarvanow.com, August 29, 2011.
"Post-Irene power, transport problems linger in MD, D.C." - Reuters, August 29, 2011.
"Lights Coming Back on For Some" - Groton Patch, August 29, 2011.
"Power outages, flooding from Irene in Massachusetts" - USA Today, August 29, 2011.
"Thousands without power, bridges closed as state cleans up after Irene" - Bangor Daily News, August 29, 2011.
"Irene Leaves Western Towns Flooded, Thousands Without Power" - thebostonchannel.com, August 29, 2011.
"After the storm, towns steamed at utilities’ slow response" - Herald News, August 29, 2011.
"CVPS: Full restoration of 37,500 outages statewide could take weeks" - vtdigger.com, August 29, 2011.
"UPDATE: Dominion says 90-95% of outages to be fixed by Friday" - Richmond Times-Dispatch, August 29, 2011.
"BGE: 80% Of Power Back On For Customers" -wbaltv.com, August 31, 2011.

Hurricane Irene: How Utilities are Preparing

Friday August 26, 2011
Posted at 08:06

Hurricane Irene is forecast to be a Category 3 or Category 4 storm by the time it makes landfall on Saturday evening. Major utilities in the region expected to be hit by the storm are already preparing.

PECO in the Philadelphia area is placing all crews on stand-by and securing local contractors in preparation for Hurricane Irene. PECO is also arranging for support from its sister utility, ComEd in Chicago, to be in the area for added assistance.

Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) says they’re preparing for the worst and hoping for the best, cancelling all vacations and placing all staff on standby. “CL&P has a comprehensive plan to respond to Hurricane Irene-caused problems in Connecticut,” says Jeff Butler, President and Chief Operating Officer of CL&P. Like PECO, CL&P is also coordinating regionally, “Our parent company, Northeast Utilities is coordinating for us and our sister companies in Massachusetts and New Hampshire to secure both additional line crews and tree crews to expedite restoration,” Butler adds.

New York City’s Office of Emergency Management was continuing to closely monitor the storm. "The city has already seen the power of Mother Nature once this week, and Mother Nature may not be done with us yet," said New York Mayor, Michael Bloomburg.

PSE&G, New Jersey’s largest utility issued a press release announcing it is closely monitoring the track of the hurricane and making emergency preparations should “the storm bring heavy rain and strong winds to our service territory.” PSE&G also plans to have all available personnel ready to respond, staging poles and extra equipment in areas ready for prompt response. “Depending on the severity of the storm, response times for both electric and gas emergency services may be longer than usual. PSE&G asks for our customers' patience and cooperation as we work to safely restore service as quickly as possible,” said the press release.

In Baltimore, BGE spokeswoman has requested through a mutual assistance network that 500 additional lineman and support staff be dispatched to BGE's coverage area. The 158 crews from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee are expected to arrive before the weekend. According to spokeswoman Rachael Lighty, "we are monitoring this storm and taking proactive steps in order to be prepared should major outages occur," Lighty said. "We haven't seen a hurricane of this magnitude for several years so we're asking our customers to prepare."

Sources

"Before, During and After a Hurricane" - PhillyBurbs.com, August 25, 2011.

"CL&P Says It's Preparing for the Worst and Hoping For The Best" - Ridgefield Press, August 25, 2011.

"Hurricane Irene New York: Mayor Bloomberg Warns of Possible Evacuations" - International Business Times, August 25, 2011.

"PSE&G Prepares for Hurricane Irene" - Marketwatch, August 25, 2011.

"Agencies Tell Residents to Prepare for the Threat of Hurricane Irene" - Carroll County Times, August 24, 2011.

Letting the Utility Run the Thermostat

Tuesday August 16, 2011
Posted at 09:00

In the wake of the recent electricity shortages in Texas, ERCOT is considering a plan to allow the utility to directly control customers' thermostats:

The Dallas Morning News reports that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas is working on a program that would allow engineers to control home thermostats to increase conservation effectiveness in times of high demand.

“Demand response is probably the best tool that could be implemented quickly because it takes several years to build a [power] generator,” ERCOT chief executive Trip Doggett told the newspaper."

UPDATE: Baltimore Gas & Electric has already implemented a plan along these lines, and it hasn't been terribly popular with those who chose to opt in:

On one of the hottest days in recorded Baltimore history, 72,000 residences were without air conditioning for at least six hours. BGE also used its radio-controlled switches to partially cut air conditioning for an additional 278,000 homes.

Many customers said they were entirely without air conditioning from late morning until after 8 p.m. on a day when the official temperature hit 106 and the air pollution index blew past the "unhealthy for certain groups" zone and into "unhealthy for everybody" territory.

BGE swears people who signed up for the cutoff plan, designed to save energy and keep the grid from overloading, should have known what to expect in exchange for their "Peak Rewards" bill credits.

"We have represented the program fairly," Mark Case, the utility's senior vice president for regulation and strategy, told this newspaper."