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Highlandtown neighborhood set to discuss power outages with BGE officials

Posted at 4:48 PM, Sep 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-10 17:16:45-04

BALTIMORE — The Highlandtown neighborhood is looking for answers from BGE after a series of unplanned power outages that have occurred over the past two weeks.

"Literally every time you see a BGE truck you’re on edge," said restaurant owner Jesse Sandlin."But since Monday, so far so good we’re holding on."

Sandlin is the owner of Sally O's on on Gough Street. The restaurant has been open for a little over a month. Sandlin said customers enjoy the outdoor dining and menu, but the recent power outages haven't helped.

"The first time that the power went out it happened earlier enough that we were able to call the people who made reservations in advance. The second time it happened just as we were opening so that didn't help," she said.

Sally O's is just one of many community businesses impacted and frustrated by the power outages.

"I think folks are Looking to be made whole and means different things to different people," said Highlandtown Community Association President Nick Kurley. "As a community association were advocating for BGE to engage with customers and find out what it needs to do to make it right."

Kurley said he talked with BGE officials.

BGE explained that there have been three recent outages, two of which were caused by wildlife and and one was caused by lightning," said Kurley. "But then there were other outages following that and it wasn’t an act of God, it wasn’t a hurricane and it wasn’t a tornado, it's aging infrastructure."

In a statement to WMAR-2 News BGE released this statement:

"Subsequent July, August, and September outages in the Highlandtown area were caused by underground cable faults and other electric equipment failures—in one case from a lightning strike, and in two others wildlife interference.

BGE has made all necessary repairs, and we’re expediting the following additional steps to mitigate the potential for similar outages in the future:

  • Replacement of overhead and underground electric cable and other equipment upgrades. Underground cable in this area has been consistently renewed since 2002, and this work continues in order to improve reliability.
  • Transfer of nearly 200 customers to a different circuit to help balance demand on the area circuits and reduce impact of a single outage.
  • Inspection of overhead electric equipment, followed by maintenance work that will be completed this month.
  • Survey of underground electric equipment to determine if devices can be installed to significantly reduce the number of customers affected by outages, should they occur.
  • Continue monitoring of electric usage data and reliability to generate insights on other ways to improve service for customers in the area.

Much of this work is already in progress or has been completed.

A virtual meeting between BGE and the Highlandtown Community is planned for this evening.