By Baltimore Business Journal

About 8,700 Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. customers have lost power since Tuesday afternoon, but the utility had restored service to all but 700 by Wednesday morning.

BGE officials were urging customers to limit their electricity usage in response to temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Tuesday, but they were not expecting a record strain on the grid. Still, the heat left thousands without power overnight.

The utility reported 733 customers without power as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, nearly all of them in Baltimore City. A map on BGEâ¿¿s website showed outages to be most concentrated downtown, around Patterson Park and in Park Heights.

BGE has responded by increasing its field staff, putting more people to work on any given shift to address the outages, spokeswoman Linda Foy said. The utility has not called in any help from out of town, she said.

Power problems arise in high heat because lines are already hot from carrying power, and the increased air conditioning usage and the high outdoor temperatures add to that.

⿿That just makes the equipment even hotter, which in some cases can cause problems and lead to outages,⿝ Foy said. ⿿That⿿s what we⿿re dealing with right now.⿝

BGE and PJM, the power grid for 13 states in the mid-Atlantic and Midwest, issued heat advisories for Wednesday. They encouraged customers to limit usage by setting thermostats higher than usual, closing curtains and blinds, delaying use of household appliances until after 9 p.m. and turning off nonessential appliances.

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals
Copyright 2010