September is National Preparedness Month

Storm-Kit-150x150While disasters can be unexpected, there are many ways to prepare before one strikes. September is National Preparedness Month, and we encourage you to educate yourself about emergency preparation, and take steps now to be ready. Here a few ways to become better prepared this September.

Make a Family Plan

If your family doesn’t already have one, make an emergency preparedness plan. All family members, including children, should have your plan memorized. Ready.gov is a great resource for guidelines, and family communication tips.

Assemble a Kit
In the event of an emergency; you could be without resources for an extended period of time. Having an emergency supply kit is essential. Below we’ve provided a checklist to reference when creating your own kit.

Emergency Supply Kit Checklist

  • Water – a three day supply (1 gallon a day per family member)
  • Food – non-perishable items that do not need to be heated
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • Battery powered or hand crank radio
  • Prescription medications
  • Manual can opener
  • Hand tools
  • Extra blankets and bedding
  • List of emergency contact phone numbers

Elderly family members, children and pets may have additional special needs which should be considered when preparing your kit. For example, special medications, games for children or pet food. Consider involving all family members when creating the kit, so everyone is familiar with the supplies. Store your kit in a safe and dry place that is easily accessible.

Preparing for Power Loss
If the power goes out, know how to stay safe. Here are a few tips:

  • Report outages and downed wires by calling 1-877-737-2662 or online at pepco.com, or by downloading our mobile app.
  • Avoid downed wires and working crews
  • Locate your emergency kit
  • Unplug lamps, TVs and appliances
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors shut

For more information about emergency preparedness, please visit pepco.com.

Preparing for the Summer Heat

Keeping your home or business cool requires more energy as temperatures rise. But a little preparation can help you stay comfortable and manage your summer energy bills.

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Here are some simple ways to help save money and energy:

  • Turn off lights when you leave the room
  • Close window blinds and curtains to keep the sun from warming your home or office
  • If health permits, set the temperature on your air conditioner a few degrees higher – but be sure to stay comfortable
  • Use window or whole house ventilating fans
  • Unplug electronics when they are not in use
  • Place a dry towel in your clothes dryer with each load of wet laundry to absorb dampness and reduce drying time
  • Barbecue outside instead of heating up your kitchen with the stove or oven

For more ways to save, visit our Save Money and Conserve Energy section. You will find tips to help you save money and energy, as well as information about programs in your area that can help you save even more.

The Summer Storm Season Is Here

Weather can be unpredictable, but taking a little time to prepare before a storm strikes can help you stay safe and connected to information in the event of severe weather. We encourage you to review this information and take steps to prepare now.

Before a Storm Strikes
Assemble an emergency storm kit with bottled water, nonperishable foods, blankets, flashlights and extra batteries, a first-aid kit and hand tools. Be sure to stock prescriptions, special medical or infant supplies and other essentials. Then develop and practice an emergency plan with everyone in your household.

If you rely on emergency or life-support equipment such as a respirator or kidney dialysis machine, our Emergency Medical Equipment Notification Program (EMENP) can provide advanced notice of severe storms and scheduled outages. Visit pepco.com/EMENP to learn more.

If severe weather is approaching, charge cell phones and mobile devices, protect and unplug electronics and fill your tub if your water supply depends on electricity. Be sure to download our mobile app to help you stay connected to information.

If Power Goes Out

  • Restoring power safely takes time. Follow these steps to minimize the effect of an outage in your home.
  • Unplug or turn off TVs, appliances and lights, keeping one lamp switched on so you know when power has been restored
  • Keep freezer and refrigerator doors closed
  • Close blinds and shades to keep rooms cool
  • Always operate portable generators outside, away from doors and windows so deadly fumes won’t enter your home or garage
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid overheating
  • When conditions are safe, check on elderly or home-bound neighbors who may be vulnerable to heat stress

Get Free Energy-Saving Trees

Tree Planting2Pepco and the Arbor Day Foundation are offering free trees to help you conserve energy. Trees are available on a first-come, first-serve basis from March 20 through June 6, while supplies last. Distribution is limited to two, 2-to-4 foot trees per customer. To get your free trees, visit www.arborday.org/Pepco today.

Properly planted trees help reduce energy use through summer shading and by slowing winter winds. As your trees grow, they will have the potential to lower energy bills by 15 to 30 percent.

To help you plant your tree in the right place, the Arbor Day Foundation offers you an online mapping tool that will:

  • Map your house
  • Show you the right trees for your area
  • Locate the best place to plant them
  • Calculate how much you can expect to save

To learn more about this program, please visit www.arborday.org/pepco.

Be Aware of Scams

We want to alert our residential and commercial customers to several scams taking place in our area.

Fake Invoices

Some scammers, posing as third-party energy suppliers, are sending fake utility bills via email to customers, asking them to click on an enclosed link. It is suspected that, by clicking the link, your computer could become infected with a virus or malware.

For your protection, we ask that you pay your utility bill by going to our website, mailing us the hard copy of the remittance portion of your invoice or visiting one of our Customer Courtesy Centers. Do not open any email asking for payment unless it was sent by us or your respective third-party energy supplier.

Reloadable Debit Cards

Scammers are also contacting customers and telling them that their electric service will be shut off for non-payment unless they purchase a reloadable debit card (Green Dot MoneyPak or Vanilla card).

Victims are instructed to call a phone number and provide the card’s account number and unique serial number. Once the scammer obtains the card’s identifying information, the value is stolen.

Commercial customers are also being told to use the same method of payment to have a new meter installed. The caller claims that the state has mandated these meter changes. This is not true.

Always Use Caution

Many utility companies, including Pepco, contact customers in person or via phone for various reasons. If someone claims to represent our company or another entity, it is important that you verify the employee’s identification—especially if they are requesting immediate payment. When addressing past due accounts, we always offer multiple payment options.

Our employees always carry an official company identification card. If proper identification cannot be produced when asked, you should notify the police or the company with whom the individual claims to be associated. Similarly, if someone calls claiming to represent a company, ask them to verify their identity and affiliation.

If you have any doubt about the validity of a person claiming to represent Pepco, please call us immediately at 202-833-7500.

Reliability work in Columbia Heights

We are continuing our reliability work in Columbia Heights due to recent service issues. We understand the frustration customers have with outages and have already started implementing a plan to fix the issues. We anticipate this work will be completed by the end of June if we have good weather and normal system conditions.

Infrastructure enhancements in this area include:

Completed Work

  • Installed 500 feet of new primary underground cable along Park Road near 11th Street
  • Used smart meter technology to review overload trends which helped us identify transformers to upgrade in two locations

Work in Progress

  • Replacing underground cable on 14th Street between Columbia Road and Monroe Street, NW
  • Expanding a manhole and installing new conduit near Park Road and Holmead Place, NW

Work Starting Soon

  • Replacing underground cable on Park Road between Holmead Place and 14th Street, NW
  • Installing 15-20 feet of conduit on 14th Street near Park Road, NW
  • Installing 350-400 feet of conduit on Park Road east of 14th Street, NW
  • Replacing cable on Park Road between 14th and 11th streets, NW
  • Increasing the capacity of a transformer on Park Rd NW
  • Increasing the capacity of a transformer near Park Road and Holmead Place, NW
  • Replacing a switch at 14th Street and Park Road, NW

We will continue to work with the business community and local representatives in Columbia Heights to coordinate the scheduling of any service interruptions that are necessary to safely complete this work. We may be required to reschedule if we encounter severe weather or cold temperatures. Customers that are affected by this work will be notified.

We remain committed to improving reliability as quickly as possible for our Columbia Heights customers.