We have made preparations for the 2015 hurricane season and remind customers to prepare for the possibility of damaging severe storms that could hit the region any time between now and Nov. 30. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season activity will likely be below normal but warns that coastal areas could see storms. For the six-month hurricane season, which began June 1, NOAA predicts a 70 percent likelihood of six to 11 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher. Three to six of those storms could become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher, including two major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher.
“Pepco continues to invest in enhancing the reliability of our electric system with a focus on fewer and shorter outages, but customers should always take steps to be ready for emergencies,” said Donna Cooper, Pepco region president. “Our storm readiness includes implementing a more efficient process to better manage crews, providing more accurate restoration times by area and improving communication with all customers.”
Storm readiness is also a year-round job for NOAA, which is responsible for tracking weather systems and providing the public with data, including hazardous weather alerts through the National Weather Service.
“Whether there’s one hurricane in the Atlantic or 25, it’s all a matter of whether a storm strikes our area,” said Chris Strong, National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist. “We need to be ready for four threats: flooding rains, tornadoes, extreme high tides and wind damage.”
Pepco’s overall 2015 storm readiness includes:
- Advanced metering technology that limits the amount of times it is necessary to send a truck with a crew to inspect an individual customer’s service. Pepco’s control center is now able to view metered service remotely, which reduces our carbon footprint and reaches larger known outages sooner.
- 150 permanent line personnel and 250 contract line personnel on the system and ready to respond to emergencies.
- A continuously updated free mobile app with interactive outage maps and more accurate restoration estimates to provide a convenient way for customers to get more information and reach us in the event of an outage. Our mobile app is available at http://www.pepco.com/mobileapp.
- An enhanced website outage map that provides more detailed views of outage situations and improved methods of providing estimated times of restoration.
Since 2010, nearly 8,200 miles of trees trimmed to enhance the reliability of Pepco’s system.
- Some immediate tips to help customers to prepare are:
- Assemble an emergency storm kit, including:
o Battery-powered radio or television
o First-aid kit
o Battery-powered or windup clock
o Extra batteries
o Special needs items, such as an insulated cooler
o A list of important and emergency phone numbers
- For people using life-support equipment that requires electricity to operate, please identify a location with emergency power capabilities and make plans to go there.
- Keep at least a three-day supply per person of non-perishable foods and bottled water, as well as a hand-operated can opener.
- Have a telephone with a cord or a cell phone to use as a backup. Cordless telephones require electricity to operate and won’t work if there is an outage.
- Protect electronic equipment. Unplug sensitive electronics or plug computers and other sensitive equipment into surge suppressors and consider an uninterruptible power supply for temporary battery backup power.
- Turn off power to flood-prone basement appliances if it is safe to do so. However, if using an electrically operated sump pump, the customer should not turn off the power.
- Have adequate prescription medicines or infant supplies on hand.
- Tune to local news broadcasts for the latest weather and emergency information and follow the advice of their local emergency management officials.
If using a personal generator, please take all recommended precautions, including:
- Never use a generator indoors or in an attached garage. A portable generator is an internal combustion engine that exhausts a deadly gas called carbon monoxide or CO. Be sure to place the generator outside where exhaust fumes will not enter into enclosed spaces.
- Don’t connect your generator directly to your home’s wiring. If a generator is plugged into the electrical circuits of a home, it can back feed power into the utility company lines, which can injure or kill utility workers fixing downed power lines. It also can cause downed lines to re-energize.
We remind customers to practice safety when someone claiming to represent the utility company contacts them either in person or by telephone. Scammers are telling customers that Pepco no longer serves their area and that they must provide personal information to open a new account. We are aware of these types of scams and it’s not unique to us. Nationally it’s been an issue, affecting utilities.
We ask all our customers to keep an eye out for scammers posing as third-party energy suppliers. In the past, scammers have attempted to target customers through fake utility bills, “official” emails that contain viruses or malware, and by pretending to be Pepco representatives and requesting monetary payment over the phone or in person. Since we often contact our customers through these same channels, it is important that you verify the identity and affiliation of anyone who calls or shows up at your door claiming to be a representative.
Similarly, make sure to only pay your utility bill through the mail, at one of our walk-in centers, online or through our mobile app. If you have any doubts about the validity of a person’s claim to represent one of our companies, contact us by phone immediately. We care about our customers and are committed to helping our customers manage their accounts. Customers can call our customer care line at 202-833-7500 for additional information.
Our customers are able to shop among certified competitive electric providers. Whether you choose to stay with Pepco as your electric supplier, or choose another supplier, we will continue to provide safe and reliable electric distribution service. For more information on customer choice please visit Pepco’s website at www.pepco.com.
We’re currently upgrading our customer information system. During this time, some of our self-service features may be unavailable or have limited functionality. Here’s some information regarding services that are affected.
Our mobile app will still be available to report outages and view outage maps; however, there may be a few hours throughout this period during which these features will become unavailable. During that time, please call customer service at 202-833-7500 if you need to report an outage.
Additionally, you’ll still be able to pay your bill through the mobile app. Please note, your account balance may not be updated in the app until our full transition is complete on or around January 5, 2015.
My Account will have limited functionality during our transition and your most recent energy use information will not be available.
You’ll still have access to the following self-service features on My Account:
- View past energy use information
- View and pay your bill
- Reset your password
Customers who are not currently signed up for My Account will be unable to do so until after our transition is completed.
Customer Service Call-In
Some self-service features normally available through our customer service number are also unavailable. You can still call us to report an emergency situation or outage, and to make a payment. Additionally, customer service representatives will be available to assist you stop, start or transfer service, investigate billing issues and discuss third party supplier information. To speak with a representative about your account, please call during normal business hours, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
We appreciate your patience during this transition. For more information about this upgrade, visit pepco.com/accountfaq.
We want to remind our customers of payment programs for those who may be experiencing financial conditions that make it difficult to keep their accounts current during these cold weather stretches and higher usage periods. Many of these arrangements can be made directly over the phone by calling (202) 833-7500 and following the simple instructions or through a customer service representative. Either way, we are more than glad to provide help through difficult periods throughout the year.
- Special Payment Arrangements: we have a variety of individually tailored payment arrangements available for customers aimed at bringing their account up to date over a mutually agreeable period of time. Call (202) 833-7500 and follow the simple instructions or speak with a customer service representative.
- Budget Billing: Customers can avoid seasonal peaks in electric bills by dividing their payments evenly over the course of the entire year. This plan makes it easier to budget and pay electric bills each month, because customers know their regular payment amount.
To sign up for budget billing, customers can register either by calling customer service at (202) 833-7500 or online through “My Account,” a secure self-service option that will allow customers to:
- View and pay their bills
- Sign up for eBill (paperless billing)
- Get e-mail notification when bills are ready
- Take advantage of features that can help save energy
Once customers register for My Account, they just need to log in and click on the “Budget Billing” button.
- Extended Payment Date Plan: This allows residential customers whose main source of total household income is from government or other low-income entitlement programs to request a regular extension of their bill due dates without incurring a late charge so their bill due dates align with the dates they get their checks. To apply, call us at (202) 833-7500 or submit the enrollment form online at pepco.com.
- Energy Assistance Programs: Some federal energy assistance may be available through state and local assistance programs. Customers can get more information on those programs by calling us at (202) 833-7500.
To save energy and money, customers can call Customer Service or visit our website at pepco.com/energy/conservation/ to learn more about programs to help pay for more energy-efficient products, simple steps to conserve energy usage and how to monitor energy consumption.
‘Tis the season of giving – and our Gift of Energy program provides a meaningful gift for the loved ones on your holiday list. You can help ease someone’s monthly expenses during the holiday season by making a payment on their energy bill with the Gift of Energy.
Giving the Gift of Energy is easy, and no different than making a payment on someone’s account. All you need is the name and address – not the account number – of the recipient.
The Gift of Energy can be purchased at one of our Walk-In Service centers (see list below), or by filling out a form on our website. After filling out the Gift of Energy contact form, a customer care representative will contact you to complete the transaction via phone. We will also send you a free holiday greeting card to notify the recipient of your generosity.
The Gift of Energy can be purchased in person at the following locations:
701 Ninth Street, NW
Hours: Monday – Friday
8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.
201 W. Gude Drive
Hours: Monday, Wednesday & Friday only
10 a.m. to 2 p.m
MLK Business Office, Washington, D.C.
2804 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE
Hours: Monday – Friday
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
8300 Marlboro Pike
Hours: Monday, Wednesday & Friday only
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Recycling your old refrigerator or freezer is not only one of the most effective ways to save money and energy – it also has big benefits for the environment.
Did you know:
- Older refrigerators and freezers typically use two to four times more energy than today’s high-efficiency models, so upgrading from an older model to an energy-efficient one can reduce your associated energy costs by 50-75% – as much as $150 annually*
- Operating two refrigerators can account for more than 20% of home energy consumption, especially if the second unit isn’t kept full to help it operate as efficiently as possible
- Recycling a single 20-year-old refrigerator can result in 120 pounds of steel, 20 pounds of plastic and 3 pounds of glass recycled for reuse, while keeping up to 10 tons of ozone-depleting substances out of the air – that’s as much as keeping two cars off the road for a year*
Our Appliance Recycling program makes it easy for our customers in Maryland to safely and responsibly dispose of select appliances. We’ll haul away and recycle your old, working refrigerator or freezer at no cost – and even send you a $50 check.
You can schedule a pickup and get details online, or call 1-877-395-5540 today. And when you’re ready to purchase a new appliance, be sure to check out our Appliance Rebates program for savings on a variety of energy-efficient appliances.
*Sources: ENERGY STAR, U.S. Dept. of Energy
As we welcome fall foliage and football season, we also celebrate Energy Awareness Month in October. Here are a few tips to help you start saving energy in your home:
- Change Your Filters. Clean or replace the filter in your forced-air heating and cooling systems each month. Foam filters can be rinsed with water but be sure they are dry before replacing. Fiberglass filters need to be replaced periodically.
- Reduce Water Heating. Turn down the water heater temperature dial to 120 degrees F, or to the “warm” setting if you have a dishwasher. Be sure to check your manufacturer’s instructions for minimum water temperature.
- Try Efficient Lighting. Use compact fluorescent bulbs. They produce about three to four times as much light per watt as incandescent bulbs. While compact fluorescents are initially more expensive, they last up to 10 times longer.
- Charge Smarter. Put your laptop AC adapter on a power strip that can be turned off (or will turn off automatically) to maximize savings; the transformer in the AC adapter draws power continuously, even when the laptop is not plugged into the adapter.
You can find additional home energy saving tips on our website, and can monitor your home’s energy usage by logging into My Account.