Atlantic City Electric offers advice on storm preparedness

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EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — “It's difficult to prepare for a prediction, but if we work together we can be prepared,” Atlantic City Electric President Vince Maione said during a press conference Thursday, July 26 outside the company’s Pleasantville Operations Center on Fire Road.

Maione was joined by representatives from the Southern Shore Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Atlantic County Officer of Emergency Management, all of whom were gathered to share information on how to prepare for the upcoming storm season.

Maione said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Storm Prediction Center has predicted a normal hurricane season, but as with the June 30 derecho storm that caught the area by surprise, it is always important to be prepared.

The power company routinely does drills for training, but the latest storm caught even Maione, who has worked for Atlantic City Electric for 38 years, by surprise.

“The damage was unparalleled,” he said, noting more than 1,200 crew members from here and other states were called into respond to the high number of damaged power lines. “We had 25 active circuits down, those are the circuits that service the majority of our customers. We had damage from East Salem County through Cumberland County and most of Atlantic County. Luckily, it spared the island towns.”

When asked about plans for burying the lines underground to avoid future outages, Maione said the costs associated with such a project would be cost prohibitive.

The above-ground infrastructure is more cost-effective. “To bury those lines would be cause a tremendous burden on the weight bearers of any state,” he said. “We are more inclined to invest in our current infrastructure to withstand these storms and be more resilient.”

Also joining Maione was Ben Maldonado, a representative of the Red Cross, who encouraged the public to make an emergency preparedness kit in their homes. “It’s important to personalize the kit for yourself,” he said. “Put in an extra pair of eyeglasses if you wear glasses, include a cell phone and a charger. Have emergency contact numbers handy.”

In preparing their homes for storms, homeowners should check for tree branches that need trimming, but Maione advised residents to call Atlantic City Electric to trim any trees that are near power lines.

“We do not want them cutting down branches that could be touching the lines. Those are precarious situations that could become dangerous,” he said. “We want to have qualified tree trimming crews who have been trained on the proper safety to do the work. We try to stay on top of it, but if someone has a tree they are concerned with, I encourage them to call us.”

Atlantic City Electric: (800) 833-7476.

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Officials presented this diagram as explanation of the process by which power is restored after a storm.


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