A message from Atlantic City Electric:
As winter approaches, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlantic City Electric is performing essential work to continue our preparations of the local energy grid to help meet increased customer demand and keep homes and businesses warm and bright all winter long. As with our efforts during the summer months this year, our crews will continue their essential work this winter in the communities we serve and do so in accordance with all federal, state and local directives and with the health and safety of our employees, communities and customers front-of-mind.
Each day work is being performed to further enhance reliability for customers, to harden our system against severe weather and to make continuous upgrades to our infrastructure and technology. This work is essential to help prevent those outages that can be prevented. On the electric grid, our work also includes inspecting and upgrading equipment; trimming trees, which cause about 24 percent of power outages for customers each year; building new underground equipment; and installing stronger, tree-resistant aerial cable. In fact, our preventive tree pruning efforts have helped reduce the number of tree-related power outages by nearly 20 percent over the last several years.
Along with our focus on providing reliable service, we also conduct annual emergency response drills and complete testing of computer and emergency systems as part of our winter preparedness program. Employees from across the company, including those who work in the field and those who provide back office support, review emergency processes and procedures to help ensure safe and efficient response to storms or emergencies. As part of the Exelon family of companies, we also share best practices with our sister companies – Baltimore Gas & Electric, ComEd, Delmarva Power, PECO and Pepco – and participate in collaborative emergency response training exercises to ensure that we can provide seamless support and resources during a storm or emergency restoration effort.
As a result of Atlantic City Electric’s ongoing efforts to modernize the local energy grid, our customers across South Jersey are continuing to experience improvements in the reliability of their energy service. Over the last five years, ongoing investments in the local energy grid have reduced the frequency of electric outages by 22 percent for Atlantic City Electric customers. The frequency of outages and the average duration of outages in 2019 remain some of the company’s lowest ever. For the instances when service was interrupted, crews were able to safely restore service in just 86 minutes, on average, in 2019. Atlantic City Electric also received PA Consulting's 2019 ReliabilityOne™ “Most Improved Utility Award” for efforts to modernize the local energy grid and deliver more reliable service for our customers. This is the second consecutive year that PA Consulting recognized Atlantic City Electric's service reliability, providing the company with its ReliabilityOne™ “Outstanding Midsize Utility Award” in 2018.
Please also know that we are working to ensure that if additional crews from outside the South Jersey region are needed to help restore service, we have plans in place to meet all social distancing and personal protective equipment guidance, including masks. This includes taking steps to stagger shifts and work schedules, have crews report directly from home or their temporary location to pre-established mustering sites, provide additional vehicles or allow for the use of personal vehicles, and ensure access to hand sanitizer, wipes and/or hand-washing stations. In addition, Atlantic City Electric has equipped all field crews with signs that can be posted to remind the public about social distancing practices, both to maintain the health and safety of our men and women in the field and our customers and communities.
Being prepared is a responsibility that we take very seriously, and we encourage others to do the same. Please help us spread the word about emergency preparedness and the steps that can be taken to keep our crews and the public safe by encouraging your constituents to assemble an emergency storm kit and prepare a plan for what to do during a power outage or winter storm and to remind them that the Atlantic City Electric crews will be in the public space, as needed. We ask that you also encourage residents to visit atlanticcityelectric.com/mobileapp to download our mobile app, which has many resources to keep customers informed during a storm. More tips, resources and safety information are available at atlanticcityelectric.com.
We have also added a new feature this year that allows customers to report a live outage by texting “Out” to report an outage on their mobile device. Atlantic City Electric customers can text “Out” to “20661”. Customers must first text “ADD OUTAGE” to “20661” to sign up for this service. If a severe storm hits, we monitor local weather reports regularly and follow the advice of local emergency management officials. We follow a strategic response plan to restore service to the greatest number of customers first and will work to restore your service as quickly and safely as possible. Customers are asked to immediately report a downed wire or service issue by calling 1-800-833-7476, visiting atlanticcityelectric.com or through our mobile app.
Nothing is more important than the safety of our customers, employees and communities. We will continue to power through the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, together. We encourage our customers to review a number of assistance and payment options, like Budget Billing, which averages payments over a 12-month period to help customers manage their monthly energy bill, or flexible payment arrangements that offer individually tailored payment installment plans aimed at bringing the account up to date over a mutually agreeable period of time. In addition to our own programs, we work constantly with community and government partners to get funding into the hands of those customers who need it most. Customers who wish to learn more or take advantage of these important programs can visit: atlanticcityelectric.com/help or call 1-800-642-3780.
By taking a few simple steps, together we can be ready to stay safe, warm and dry during the winter season, as well as manage our energy usage. For more tips and information to save money and energy all winter long, please visit atlanticcityelectric.com or call 800-642-3780.More: Community News