Delmarva Power: All Resources Committed to Hurricane Sandy - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delmarva Power: All Resources Committed to Hurricane Sandy

Updated:

NEWARK, Del.– Delmarva Power said it has activated all of its field personnel, including utility crews from states as far away as Alabama and Louisiana, to assist with restoring power in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

The utility, which is the Delmarva Peninsula's largest electricity provider, said it has nearly 360 internal and contract line personnel and 200 tree removal personnel on the system and ready for quick mobilization.

Delmarva Power's parent company, Pepco Holdings Inc., has requested a total of 3,700 outside crew members through the utility mutual assistance process. At this time, PHI has received commitments for a total of 1,473 crew members, some of whom arrived Monday.

Delmarva Power has set up a staging area for personnel and materials at the Fisker Plant in Wilmington, Del., and the Arthur W. Perdue (Shorebirds) Stadium in Salisbury, Md. Crews will be deployed based upon greatest damage and need.

In addition, the utility said non-field employees have assumed special storm roles to support the restoration. These roles include damage assessors, crew guides and additional staff to answer customer calls.

"Delmarva Power has dedicated all of its resources in support of Hurricane Sandy. Our employees are actively engaged in their storm response roles, answering customer calls around the clock, checking inventories, engaging in customer outreach and planning our field crew resources," said Delmarva Power President Gary Stockbridge. 

Delmarva Power said its highest priority is restoring customers as quickly and safely as possible. However, the utility said Sandy is a storm of enormous proportions and the utility expects extensive damage to the electric system and a prolonged restoration period, potentially for several days. Trees are still heavily covered with leaves, which Delmarva Power said makes branches and tree trunks more apt to break and fall on power lines, bringing down spans of wire, splitting poles and damaging other electrical equipment.

"Because of the magnitude of the storm, we will not be issuing estimated restoration times until the storm has passed and a preliminary damage assessment has been conducted," Stockbridge said. "At that time, a global estimated restoration time will be released indicating when we expect to have 90 percent of customers restored."

OSHA regulations do not allow overhead work to be performed in sustained winds of 35 mph or more, according to Delmarva Power. As a result, the utility said initiation of damage assessment and restoration work will depend on when the storm passes and winds subside.

Customers are urged to complete their storm preparations to protect their families and homes. On Friday and Saturday, Delmarva Power called all customers with a recorded message to urge them to prepare for hurricane conditions. The utility also made special calls to those registered as having electrically powered critical medical support equipment urging them to have plans to relocate, if there are extended power outages.

For their safety, Delmarva Power 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 Delmarva Power to make the wires safe.

In response to customer feedback, there are a number of new online and mobile tools to track and report outages. Delmarva Power urges customers to view their utility website at Delmarva Power.com/storm to learn more about these tools as well as to view safety and storm preparation tips. The most effective way to report an outage or downed wire is to call Delmarva Power's Call Center at. To report a Natural Gas Emergency call: (302) 454-0317. 

Restoration Process

In the event severe weather causes widespread damage to the electric system, Delmarva Power said it 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. Delmarva Power said that generally the sequence is as follows:

  • Downed live wires or potentially life-threatening situations and public health and safety facilities without power.
  • Transmission lines serving thousands of customers.
  • Substation equipment.
  • Main distribution lines serving large numbers of customers.
  • Secondary lines serving neighborhoods.
  • Service lines to individual homes and businesses.

Preparation Tips

  • 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 away from downed wires. Assume any downed wire is energized.

Contacting Delmarva Power

If you experience an outage or see a downed or damaged power line, call Delmarva Power:

  • Delaware: New Castle County: 1-800-898-8042; Kent and Sussex counties: 1-800-898-8045
  • Maryland: Cecil and Harford counties: 1-800-898-8042; Eastern Shore: 1-800-898-8045

You can also report outages through Delmarva Power's mobile app or at Delmarva.com.

To report a Delmarva natural gas emergency in New Castle County, Del., call (302) 454-0317.

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