Bloomberg News

Power Restoration Efforts Complicated by Heat, Storms

July 06, 2012

Heat and a new series of storms have complicated utility crew efforts to restore electricity to thousands of customers in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic who are entering a seventh day without power.

Exelon Corp.’s (EXC:US) Baltimore Gas & Electric said 90,000 more customers lost power after triple-digit temperatures and overnight storms. That’s in addition to the 25,935 BG&E customers that remain without electricity after a June 29 storm brought rain, lightning and wind gusts of 91 miles per hour across 10 states and the District of Columbia.

“Restoration of these new outages may be delayed due to the company’s continued priority focus on outages related to last Friday’s storm,” Chicago-based Exelon said in a statement today.

More than 416,000 homes and businesses lacked electricity as of 9 a.m. New York time, according to the U.S. Energy Department. Known as a derecho, the storm disrupted electricity for as many as 4.3 million customers from North Carolina to New Jersey, causing the most widespread blackouts since Hurricane Irene struck in August.

High temperatures and the possibility of another round of damaging thunderstorms are forecast for the mid-Atlantic this weekend, according to the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. Baltimore reached 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) yesterday, with a forecast high of 104 tomorrow, according to the National Weather Service. Washington is expected to reach 101 today and 103 tomorrow.

Ohio Customers

American Electric Power Co. (AEP:US), which serves customers in Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky, restored power to most of the more than 11,000 customers in Ohio affected by storms last night, according to a statement today. More than 1.4 million of the Columbus, Ohio-based company’s customers were affected by a storm, the most since Hurricane Ike in 2008.

FirstEnergy Corp. (FE:US) has 81,000 customers without electricity in West Virginia and expects to restore power to the majority by July 9, the company said in a statement yesterday.

Pepco Holdings Inc. (POM:US), which delivers power in the Washington area, has 1,792 customer blackouts. Bringing electricity back to the last homes and businesses may take until July 9.

“The extensive damage associated with the remaining outages makes restoring service to these customers especially challenging,” the company said in a statement yesterday.

Virginia Power

Dominion Resources Inc. (D:US), the largest utility in Virginia, has restored service to more than 98 percent of the 1 million customers that lost power from the storm, according to its website.

Almost all of the company’s customers in Northern Virginia and the Richmond metropolitan area will have power restored by tonight. The June 29 storm was “the largest non-hurricane event in the company’s history,” Richmond, Virginia-based Dominion said in a July 4 statement.

On July 1, President Barack Obama declared West Virginia and Ohio federal disaster areas. Other states affected were Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, according to the Edison Electric Institute, a Washington-based group that represents utilities.

“Very intense hot weather continues in the short range for the Midwest, Deep South, and East with more record high temperatures probably in many spots into this weekend,” said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.

To contact the reporter on this story: Benjamin Haas in New York at bhaas7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tina Davis at tinadavis@bloomberg.net


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Companies Mentioned

  • EXC
    (Exelon Corp)
    • $34.26 USD
    • -0.06
    • -0.18%
  • AEP
    (American Electric Power Co Inc)
    • $54.71 USD
    • 0.16
    • 0.29%
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