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Hurricane Irene: How Utilities are Preparing

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.

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