- Utilities are gearing up for a major winter storm expected to hit the East Coast of the United States Friday and Saturday, and with some major cities anticipating up to two feet of snow it would appear some outages are nearly inevitable.
- Utilities are preparing for the storm and monitoring weather developments, while lineman from outside the region head North to help with the cleanup. Tampa Electric has sent about 250 workers to North Carolina to help Duke Energy Carolinas deal with outages.
- Earlier this month, the Associated Press released an analysis that found power outages related to extreme weather are on the rise in the United States, and while improvements are in the works the system remains vulnerable.
The National Weather Service is calling it a "potentially crippling winter storm" for parts of the mid-Atlantic, beginning today and into early Saturday. Snowfall could approach two feet for some locations, including the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., metro areas, NOAA predicted.
The nation's capital in particular has a reputation for getting storms wrong. The city can grind to a halt over an inch of snow, and that's exactly what happened on Wednesday of this week. But Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency yesterday, in advance of the storm, and virtually every weather model is calling for a blizzard. Up and down the East Coast, utilities are watching for what everyone believes will be a serious storm.
Pepco, the utilty that serves D.C. and the surrounding areas, said it has 550 personnel ready to handle power outages in the District.
“Our crews are prepared for this weather event and will work safely and diligently if there are any interruptions in power because of this storm,” Pepco President Donna Cooper said at a news conference with Bowser, according to the Washington Post.
Baltimore Gas and Electric announced it has called up about 900 support contractors in addition to its 3,200 staff workers.
Tampa Electric said it will send about 250 people to North Carolina to help Duke Energy Carolinas restore power. About 200 contractors, 40 linemen and 25 support personnel left yesterday morning for Charlotte. "They are prepared to stay for two weeks," TECO said in a statement.
Duke Energy issued a statement saying it "is closely monitoring the winter storm" and has about 3,200 line workers in the Carolinas and "plans are underway to bring additional resources, as needed."
The Portland Press Herald reports that Central Maine Power linemean were heading into work with overnight bags, and crews from the northern part of the state were prepared to help impacted areas recover. “We’ve been working on this for several days,” a CMP spokeswoman told the Press Herald. “As soon as it became clear there would be an impact here, we started putting our emergency plan in place.”
In New Jersey, Public Service Electric and Gas Co. is scheduling additional personnel in the field, fueling trucks and has spare poles and other equipment available.
“While snow and wind normally don’t pose a serious problem, icing on lines and trees can increase the possibility of downed wires and power outages,” John Latka, senior vice president of electric and gas operations for PSE&G, said in a statement. “Those types of conditions also make it difficult for our crews to get around, and we can’t go up in buckets to make repairs if there are high winds. We will respond to outages and no-heat calls around the clock — as quickly and safely as possible."
The U.S. Energy Information Agency offers a real-time map of electric system disruptions, available here.