Nearly half of Baltimore Gas and Electric'scustomers could experience power outages this weekend as Hurricane Irene passes through the area, the utility said in a statement Friday.
The 500,000 outages could start as soon as Saturday afternoon, BGE said, adding that the company has called in 850 out-of-state and contract staff to deal with the storm and will have 3,700 personnel on call for repairs during the storm.
The utility has more than 1.2 million customers in the Baltimore metropolitan area. During Hurricane Isabel in 2003, more than 600,000 BGE customers experienced outages.
Officials warn residents to have a plan and emergency supplies available in case the power goes out. BGE warned that it could take a while for power to return.
“While BGE has proactively requested and obtained out-of-state resources to assist in the restoration effort, it also reminds customers that certain types of work, such as repairs requiring the use of bucket trucks, cannot be safely performed when the wind exceeds 25 miles per hour,” A. Christopher Burton, senior vice president of gas and electric operations and planning for BGE, said in a press release.
“Additionally, it is likely that new outages will occur even once the storm has left the area as some trees weakened by the saturated rain and high wind may not fall until the storm has ended. As a result, customers should be prepared for multiple and extended outages.”
To report a power outage, call 1-877-778-2222. To report downed power lines, call 410-685-0123