Delmarva Power has activated all 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. Delmarva Power 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 today. PHI is working to secure additional commitments. Delmarva Power has set up a staging area for personnel and materials at the Fisker Plant in Wilmington. and the Purdue Shorebirds Stadium in Salisbury, Md. Crews will be deployed based upon greatest damage and need.
In addition, 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. 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 Gary Stockbridge, president, Delmarva Power Region. “We have activated our strategic response plan for this event and frequently train and exercise the plan throughout the year.”
Delmarva Power’s highest priority is restoring customers as quickly and safely as possible. However, 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 make 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,” said Stockbridge. “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. As a result, the initiation of damage assessment and restoration work will depend on when the storm passes and winds subside. A thorough damage assessment is critical to deploying resources most effectively and efficiently.
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.