Delmarva Power has restored service for the more than 129,000 customers who were affected by devastating impacts of Tropical Storm Isaias but now they say they may have to rebuild their grid after Friday nights storm damage.
NEWARK (DE): Delmarva Power crews are working to assess damage and restore service safely and efficiently for customers following last night’s extreme weather. Our initial assessments have found heavy tree damage and flooding that caused significant damage to the local energy grid in New Castle County and the surrounding area.
As of 7:00 a.m. today, Delmarva Power crews have already restored service for nearly 7,000 customers following last night’s weather. They are currently responding to outages impacting more than 8,000 customers in New Castle County and the surrounding area., company officials said.
While the damage is mostly isolated to New Castle County, Delmarva said they believe that in at least several areas the extent of the damage is so severe that entire sections of the local energy grid will need to be completely rebuilt in order to restore service. The work will continue to be extremely labor intensive and very time consuming, as a multitude of fallen trees must be removed before repairs can be completed.
“This was one of the most devastating storms to hit our service area in recent memory,” said Gary Stockbridge, Delmarva Power region president. “We want to express our sincere appreciation to our customers, especially those in the most heavily damaged areas, for their patience and understanding as we worked around the clock to restore their service.”
The company amassed more than 1,250 personnel to work around the clock to repair the extensive damage to the local energy grid and restore service for customers. This contingent of resources included Delmarva Power field and support personnel, local contractors, and resources from several other companies from as far away as Florida, Georgia, Minnesota and Texas. Delmarva Power also received support from its sister Exelon companies, ComEd in Chicago and BGE in Baltimore, as well as contractor crews from Pepco in Washington, DC.
In total, the storm affected nearly 67,000 Delaware customers and more than 62,000 Maryland customers. Crews restored service for 95 percent of customers affected by the storm by Wednesday night—just 24 hours after the storm had moved out of the company’s service area.
As with all storm responses, Delmarva Power took a systematic approach when responding to Tropical Storm Isaias, prioritizing repairs to equipment that would restore power to the greatest number of customers first., the company explains. In the first 24 hours, crews focused on addressing life-threatening, safety and health situations, assessing the damage, and completing repairs to transmission equipment, including nine transmission lines and three substations. Crews then focused on addressing main distribution lines serving large numbers of customers. The final stages were the most labor intensive and included completing repairs to secondary lines serving neighborhoods and service lines to individual homes and businesses., the company said.
Delmarva said, the extensive damage made restoring service to customers especially complex. Responding to the storm required a significant amount of tree work by arborists who had to remove damaged and downed trees from equipment before repairs could be completed. Restoring service also required replacing more than 120 utility poles and installing more than 40,000 feet of wire. Crews also had to replace more than 150 fuses, 130 crossarms and 65 transformers.
While we just completed a multi-day restoration effort, Delmarva Power’s Emergency Response Organization is activated, and all available personnel will work around the clock to restore service for our customers.
Due to the destructive impacts of the extreme weather, estimated times of restoration are currently suspended in New Castle County and will be updated as crews assess damage. A significant amount of work remains to repair the damage and customers should be prepared for a multi-day restoration effort. We appreciate customers’ patience as we work to restore service.
Safety is our top priority. We urge our customers to stay away from downed wires and assume any downed wire is energized. To report an outage or downed wire, call 800-898-8042 or report and track through our mobile app or our website at delmarva.com/storm.