We were unable to videotape today’s press conference, so I’m putting this blog post together in an attempt to keep everyone as informed as I can, especially those without power. I’m using Pepco President, Thomas Graham’s, talking points to craft this…
Within weeks of the severe storm on July 25, we find ourselves looking at a very similar situation. As a result of this morning’s storms, we have widespread devastation to our electric system caused by trees and branches downed by high winds. Initial reports say that we had winds in excess of 60 mph and more than 3 inches of rain in an hour in some areas.
Some of the damage includes 90 feeder lock outs and 4 substations without supply. This is significant because substations and feeders are an integral part of our distribution system. Without supply to them, large numbers of customers will have a disruption of service to their homes and businesses.
We are applying all of our resources and those we can muster from outside to accomplish the restoration as quickly and safely as possible. They will work around the clock until every customer is restored.
At the peak of the outages from today’s storm, we had approximately 110,000 customers without power. Outages concentrated in Montgomery County (particularly Gaithersburg and Rockville), with significant outages in the District of Columbia and Prince George’s County as well. As noted previously, the Washington metropolitan area has the 3rd largest tree canopy in the U.S. which plays a major role in reliability, especially during hurricane season.
It’s too early to say how the damage (see photos) will compare to the July storm. That said, with the amount of damage to our system and it’s subsequent outages, we’re looking at a multiple day restoration event. At 3 p.m., we had a total of 91,488 without power; 64,023 in Montgomery County, 7,688 in Prince George’s county, and 19,381 in the District of Columbia.
Note: As of 7:30 p.m. we have 64,618 without power; 51,364 in Montgomery County, 3807 in Prince George’s County, and 9,422 in the District of Columbia.
- We had a full complement of crews on hand to assess the damage and begin making repairs.
- We have extra contractors working the system and more are coming tomorrow.
- We have mobilized resources from our two sister utilities. They will be available to begin work at 7:00 a.m. on Friday.
- We have 95 FTE’s on the way from First Energy, 56 from ConEd and will arrive tomorrow as well.
- We have requested an additional 100 FTEs from mutual assistance this afternoon
- We have activated the Call Center auxiliary CSRs and
- We will be setting up a staging area at Montgomery College
- We are communicating and partnering with local governments to expedite the restoration. As part of this coordination. A conference call with elected officials is scheduled this evening to discuss this situation
Similar to the July 25 storm, we aren’t currently providing Estimated Times of Restoration (ETRs). To provide proper ETRs, we must survey the damaged system, assess the damage, and finally determine how long it will take to make repairs. Because of the time it would take to complete this process for such a magnitude of system damage, we have modified it. In an effort to restore power to as many customers as quickly and safely as possible, we are currently restoring power as we assess damage. More storms are on the way so we won’t be providing ETRs until after they have passed and we complete our assessment. Keep in mind that this will be a multiple day restoration effort.
It is always good to keep in mind that once customers are restored they may experience brief outages as crews continue to make repairs on other sections of the circuit. To be safe, customers should re-report any outages to 1-877-PEPCO-62.
Customers should call 1-877-Pepco-62 (1-877-737-2662) to Report an Outage and/or to report downed wires. Always stay away from downed power lines and assume they are live. If you or a family member has special needs, such as relying on special medical equipment, you should invoke your emergency plans. Public health and safety remains our top priority in our restoration process.
I will continue to share information as it’s provided to me via Twitter.com/PepcoConnect
‘Til the next post,