As BGE continues to invest in electric system upgrades and preventive maintenance, the reliability of service to customers continues to improve. The average duration of power outages during the first quarter of 2016, 81 minutes, was the lowest first quarter measure on record for BGE. This follows a longer term trend in which the average duration of outages has decreased by more than 38 percent over the last decade. BGE ranks in the top 25 percent of utilities nationwide in fewest outages and shortest duration.
“Customers expect reliable service, and when outages do occur, the sooner we can restore service, the better,” said Stephen J. Woerner, president and chief operating officer of BGE. “The efforts of our skilled employees, sharing best practices with our Exelon sister utilities and the investments in equipment upgrades, maintenance and new technologies are having a positive effect for our customers.”
Changes to crew scheduling and dispatching practices, as well as deployment of “fix-it-now” construction crews that have more capabilities to restore service safely and quickly, are some of the best practices BGE has deployed.
Each year, BGE invests approximately $500 million to operate and maintain the company’s electric system infrastructure, part of more than $6 billion invested in gas and electric system upgrades since 2002. In addition to reducing the duration of outages, the number of service interruptions customers experience has also been on the decline. Since 2006, the number of total electric outages has decreased 43 percent.
One of the ways that BGE is reducing the duration and number of power outages includes the installation of more overhead devices called reclosers. When a problem occurs, like a fallen tree limb, lightning strike or vehicle accident, the closest recloser stops the flow of electricity on the line and automatically restores electricity to as many customers as possible before permanent repairs can be made. BGE has been installing hundreds of new reclosers on the system over the last several years. Other measures include selectively burying power lines in areas where overhead interference is an issue. More than 60 percent of electric distribution lines are located underground.
Tree trimming also continues to limit the number of power outages caused by trees and other vegetation. In 2016, the company is investing nearly $27 million on tree trimming and other vegetation removal around approximately 2,300 miles of overhead power lines along the electric distribution and transmission systems.
BGE is working to move smart energy forward with solutions that improve the reliability of customers’ service.