Friday’s Derecho Storm Left ‘Hurricane-Like Damage’
A Baltimore Gas and Electric spokeswoman said putting power lines underground wouldn't solve power-outage problems in the future.
As of 7 a.m. Tuesday, Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) said the company had restored service to more then 500,000 customers after they lost power during Friday night’s derecho storm.
The strong storm, which caused “hurricane-like damage,” left about 680,000 customers without power, said BGE spokeswoman Rachael Lighty.
“The storm was short, but violent through the night with winds in excess of 70 miles per hour,” she said Tuesday morning at the out-of-state utility workers staging area in Glen Burnie. “During Hurricane Irene we had 750,000 customers out of service … After Friday’s storm we had 680,000 customers out of service.”
Nearly 1,300 out-of-state utility workers joined the about 2,000 BGE workers to help get customers back on line.
Lighty said all of Anne Arundel County was hit hard, but was not able to say which areas were hit hardest.
“The number one cause for outages in Anne Arundel County [and elsewhere] is pulled trees and tree limbs coming down on the power lines,” she said. "With a storm of this magnitude, we're seeing entire trees down on the lines."
Many residents have argued that there would be fewer outages if BGE would put its power lines underground, but Lighty said that’s not necessarily true.
“We have both underground and above ground lines. But the thing about underground lines is they have to come out of the ground somewhere,” she said. “It’s also harder to detect a problem when the lines are buried and it takes longer to fix.”
Other residents said they didn’t understand why the estimated restoration time would change each time they call, but Lighty said it could be for a number of reasons.
“It’s very hard to estimate what kind of damage they’ll see when they get out there. It could be that they need to repair a different piece of equipment further away,” she said. “But we haven’t established a global estimated time” for all customers to have power restored.
Lighty said residents who see that their neighbors have power while they are still without likely receive their electricity from a different feeder, where electricity is pulled from another substation.
According to a BGE press release, BGE is monitoring additional severe weather over the next several days, which could result in further power outages, while continuing to work on restoration services.
There is a chance of thunderstorms Tuesday night through Wednesday in Edgewater, Davidsonville and parts of south county, according to the National Weather Service.
Some residents who said they have lost power after it was restored may have been one of the 12,000 to lose power after Sunday night’s storm, Lighty said. They also might have to be taken offline to repair another nearby piece of equipment, she said.
“[Those customers] could be without power anywhere from a few minutes to several hours,” she said.
As for neighborhoods such as Loch Haven, Londontowne, Beverly Beach and Davidsonville, where residents report losing power for several days whenever there is a storm, BGE encourages customers to wait until things are back to normal and then contact them at 410-685-0123 to report the issue.
The area will be investigated by determining how many outages have occurred within that area over a period of time and action could be taken.
Restoration efforts are expected to continue through the rest of the week. According to the BGE website, crews are working in the following areas of Anne Arundel County on Tuesday:
- Beverly Beach
- Champion Forest—Jessup
- Hanover (West of BWI)
- Hillsmere Shores—Annapolis
- Kinder Farm Park—Severna Park
- Park Place—Annapolis
- Round Bay View—Severna Park
- Severna Park
- Shady Side
- Sherwood Forest
- Tracys Landing
- West River
To see where BGE is currently working, visit the Crew Work Locations web page.