From the office of Sen. Nancy Jacobs:
Businesses in the Edgewood and Joppa area, frustrated with continued power outages, met with Senator Nancy Jacobs on Wednesday at 11:30 am to vent their concerns. They wanted to know if BGE and government officials had any idea of the financial losses they and their employees have suffered because of the power outages. Over 1,000 of their employees were unable to work because of the power outages.
These local businesses said they needed better information on when they could expect to get their power back. The owners and managers had repeatedly been told by the utility that they didn’t know when their power would be restored and that they may not get back on line until Friday or even Saturday. Because these businesses aren’t located in an area with 10,000 residential accounts they were not a priority for BGE.
“This situation is so frustrating for the people I represent. The state doesn’t have a clue about how important it is to keep these businesses open so people can work. “If they cared about people, they’d put people back to work by getting the companies electricity,” said Jacobs
Several hotels and businesses just south of I-95 including Denny’s, El Rodeo Restaurant and the Waffle House were just a few of the many businesses affected at today’s meeting with Senator Jacobs. Seven businesses at the Lakeside Complex which employ about a thousand people were also still without power since Saturday. Senator Jacobs tried to arbitrate on their behalf with BGE, expressing the businesses concerns.
Senator Jacobs provided the names and addresses of these local businesses to BGE. Within hours, the Senator was assured that the power would be restored to those businesses by Wednesday evening. Senator Jacobs was notified by several owners that a caravan of trucks did arrive late Wednesday and power was restored between six and seven pm.
Senator Jacobs has been informed that the utility does not consider businesses a higher priority than households. Bonnie Johansen with BGE tells the Senator’s Office that emergency facilities are a first priority such as 911 centers, hospitals, fire houses, police and some nursing homes. After that the decisions on who will be turned on is based on numbers of meters in an affected area. One large business may be on the same priority level as a single family.
The utility’s handling of Hurricane Irene will be evaluated by lawmakers, including decisions about restoration priorities. Lawmakers will also examine the effect of a pending sale of BGE to Exelon Company and how that might influence future responses to widespread electrical outages.