Pepco Prepared for 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season

MobileBlogWe 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   Flashlight

 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.

Beware of a New Phone Scam

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.

Give the Gift of Energy this Holiday Season

Gift of Energy‘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:

Washington, D.C.
701 Ninth Street, NW
Hours: Monday – Friday
8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.

Rockville, MD
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.

Forestville, MD
8300 Marlboro Pike
Hours: Monday, Wednesday & Friday only
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Get Green and Save with Appliance Recycling

Appliance-Recycling-150-x-150Recycling 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

October is Energy Awareness Month

October Blog Photo Option2As 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.