More than 400,000 Baltimore Gas and Electric customers in Central Maryland remain without electricity in the wake of a powerful and swiftly moving storm that passed through the area Friday night.
BGE spokesperson Rob Gould said that it will likely be several days before power is restored to all customers.
"We know this is going to be a multi-day response," Gould said at BGE's storm operations command center in northwest Baltimore County. "This is not something where we'll be able to restore power in a couple of days."
According to BGE's storm center page, more than 418,000 customers--or about a third of the 1.2 million customers the utility company serves in Central Maryland--were without electricity by mid-day Saturday.
Power outages were reported throughout the area served by BGE, including Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Carroll, Harford, Howard, Montgomery and Prince Georges counties.
Gould said that BGE is still in the process of assessing the damage from the storm--which could be compounded by severe winds that are forecast to move through the region Saturday night.
"We'll be in the assessment phase today and tomorrow [Sunday]," Gould said.
The first priorities for utility crews are police stations, water pumping stations, fire stations and other facilities related to public safety, he said.
Once power has been restored to public safety facilities, "we'll be looking for feeders that serve a large number of customers, so we can restore power to the most people as quickly as we can," Gould said.
The lowest priority are individual customers and small clusters where power is out, he said.
About 650 BGE crews are on the streets Saturday, which will be augmented by about 400 linemen called in from Mississippi and Florida, according to Gould.
It will take 2-3 days for crews from out of state to arrive in the area, he said.
During last year's Hurricane Irene, about 1,000 crews assisted with power restoration efforts, according to Gould.
Friday night's storm moved so quickly and affected so large an area, that utility companies had no time to prepare and rally additional resources, Gould said.
Utility crews from Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, DC, that would ordinarily help out in an emergency are dealing with power outages in their own areas, Gould said.
"We didn't have any warning," he said. "Now that everybody is in the same boat, everybody is scrambling."