Storm Damage Causes Hundreds of Outage Incidents

SMECO is working to restore power following the damage caused by Tropical Storm Isaias. The impact of heavy rains and high winds has caused hundreds of outage incidents leaving thousands of Southern Maryland members without power on Tuesday, August 4, 2020.

SMECO estimates that more than 40,000 homes and businesses were affected by power outages, and less than 10,000 are without power as of 5 p.m. on Tuesday. SMECO expects the majority of members to have their power restored by Wednesday night, with the remainder to have power restored by mid-day on Thursday.

According to SMECO spokesperson Tom Dennison, “SMECO has more than 230 line workers making repairs where trees have fallen and brought down power lines. Additional crews are expected to arrive tomorrow morning. We had 24 substation feeders locked out because of the storm, and as of 5 p.m., we still have nine feeders locked out.” Dennison added, “Our restoration efforts have been hampered by extensive flooding throughout the area that has closed roads, and in some cases, washed out roads completely.”

Crews continue to work on restoring the single transmission line serving SMECO’s Golden Beach substation. SMECO anticipates completion of those repairs by 9 p.m. Tuesday.

SMECO’s outage restoration policy is to make repairs that will restore service to the most people in the least amount of time. Transmission lines and substations are repaired first, followed by distribution lines that feed neighborhoods. Tap lines and individual service lines are then repaired to restore power to customers who may still be without electricity.

Dennison added, “Crews will work as long as possible tonight and hit the ground running tomorrow morning. Contractor crews from Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina are assisting with the power restoration effort.”

The public can track the extent of outages on SMECO’s outage map and find safety information on our Storm Center page. The following is a list of helpful tips for customers.

  • If someone in your household depends on electricity to operate life support systems, make plans for alternate sources of power or alternate lodging
  • If you plan to use a portable generator, use extension cords to connect what you want to power directly to the generator – Place your generator outside, not in an attic, crawl space, or basement. Carbon monoxide poisoning is deadly – Make sure your generator is connected safely; a generator that is not connected safely can cause serious injury or death – When your power comes back on, turn off and disconnect your generator immediately
  • Keep flashlights and fresh batteries on hand – Lanterns and candles are not recommended because they can cause fires
  • Never touch downed power lines or attempt to remove trees from power lines – Contact with live lines may result in serious injury or death. Let qualified SMECO crews handle the clearing and repair work – Please report downed power lines to SMECO immediately by calling (888) 440-3311
  • Stock nonperishable foods and keep a manual can opener handy. The ideal choices are foods that require no cooking, such as fruit, canned tuna, peanut butter, crackers, cereals, cereal bars, canned soup, and bread
  • Do not stock your refrigerator or freezer with foods that may perish during a power outage
  • If you plan to use a charcoal or gas grill for cooking, keep the grill outdoors
  • If your water at home is supplied by a well, store extra water in clean jugs, bathtubs, or laundry tubs
  • Keep a battery-powered radio with fresh batteries and stay tuned to local news bulletins and weather reports
  • Make sure that you have a standard or mobile phone available – Cordless phones do not work without electricity
  • If you use a mobile phone or tablet, keep a charged power bank handy or use an auto adapter to recharge your mobile device
  • Keep your automobile gas tank above half full
  • Keep fresh batteries in your smoke detectors
  • Open the freezer and refrigerator as little as possible – This will help food stay fresh longer
  • Make sure the oven and stove are off to prevent fires if the power comes back on while you’re away