Friday, September 2, 2011


We're now onto day 5 without power.

This is the sort of thing I'd expect if we were, say, in the middle of nowhere. Heck, I'd expect it if I still lived a county over, where there were cows a 20-minute walk from my house. I certainly don't expect that in Baltimore CITY, where (generally speaking) the power doesn't go out for us.

What kills me, though, is this is an issue that could have been easily prevented. Heck, most of the outages were preventable. BGE simply refuses to do the proper maintenance and due diligence required in order to run an effective power company, and they do this in order to protect and increase profit margins.

In our little town in Harford County, where I used to live, our biggest cause of outages was squirrels. Not storms, not freak wind, not ice. Squirrels. Why? Because out there the county and the power company actually kept trees away from power lines (and squirrels apparently love to chew on the lines). I vividly remember major storms (both ice and rain) coming through and watching the power flicker, but it very rarely went out...and it always came back in a few hours. Even in the nasty ice storm of 1994, we retained power with nary a hiccup.

In the decade+ that Chris has been in the house, the trees have been trimmed once, and those who did the trimming left a limb sitting on the lines...but not attached to the tree from whence it came. Because that makes sense. In the 5 years I've been with Chris, the power has twice gone out for over 24 hours. Both situations were caused by trees damaging the lines or the transformer. Last time, the line was knocked off the pole, and this time there's no visible damage, so we're assuming the aforementioned limb hit the transformer.

Last night, Chris and I drove through an area north of Baltimore to assess the damage, as we have friends around there who have gone without power as long as we have. The first thing I noticed: there were bucket trucks up there. LOADS of them! I counted five in a 2 mile drive through the neighborhoods. Where are our trucks? The work locations list says they were working near our home yesterday, but I didn't see any trucks. I didn't even see a marked city-owned vehicle. There is no indication whatsoever that we have any priority.

So where does that leave us? Generatorless (because we have a specific model we're buying, and it's backordered to kingdom come), borrowing an outlet at a neighbor's house so the fish tank can filter for an hour or two a night, and generally miserable. It's frustrating knowing the Governor's on TV and all over the news saying how they're working diligently, blah blah blah...and it's especially disheartening when BGE gets a nice big fluff piece in the Baltimore Sun, touting how awesome they are for getting so many people back up and running in such a short time.

And here's an interesting little bit of information: in Florida, everyone would have had power by now, save a few individuals out in the boonies. Friends down there agree, and they've actually seen real hurricanes.

Frustration is high, morale and sanity are low, and BGE is not the shining star of success they'd like to be.

While I was writing this post, the power was turned back on. THANK YOU Michigan, Ohio and Georgia Power!

Interesting tidbit - I don't know if Chris got the names of the gentlemen who said this, but they say they've never seen a power company with this poor maintenance. What does that tell you, BGE?


NotClauswitz said...

Well, at least they don't have defective exploding gas mains that ignite entire neighborhoods like a giant blow-torch and kill eight or ten people outright, like our *beloved* PG&E power monopoly.
(They do the same no-thing with trees and squirrels, but it's getting harder and harder as stuff (lines) is all moved underground...)

Old NFO said...

BGE is 'almost' as incompetent as PEPCO :-) They're both in MD, so I can't help but wonder if that is a clue!

Anonymous said...

I don't know what the problem is we don't hsve that many power outages and when we do it is usually for a couple of hours. down here after a hurricane, the surrounding states send their utility companies to help get us back on line, and when it is them we send ours. You guys don't do that up north? I thought you guys knew how to do everything up north. ;-)