Pepco Holdings’ Rigby Responds to Gov. O’Malley

Joe Rigby, Chairman, President and CEO of Pepco Holdings, Inc., sent the following letter to Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley in response to a letter from the governor regarding storm outages:

January 29, 2011

Dear Governor O’Malley:

I appreciate your frustration and concerns, and those of our customers. As of January 29, 2011, 10:15 p.m., Pepco has 11,500 Maryland customers without power. All Pepco employees and 1,000 outside crews are focused on efforts to restore service to those of our customers still without power.

The only real goals for us are: (1) zero outages, and (2) fastest possible restorations of service when goal (1) is not met. We made real progress on the number of outages today, we continue working through tonight, and will have about 1,300 crews on the ground tomorrow. The large number of crews will help us manage the remaining outages, many of which involve only one customer or very small groups of customers.

We have provided to your office, and will be reporting in detail to the Public Service Commission, information on our response times, including the steps we took to secure outside resources to assist us in our restoration efforts. While I cannot speak for other utility companies in the region, I believe our efforts to obtain outside help were similar to theirs. We certainly will cooperate fully with any investigation the Commission undertakes, and will work with you and the General Assembly on any reliability measures you may explore.

I agree that our outage management map is only as good as its availability to our customers. We will continue to improve its operation so that it can be made available to customers without interruption.

I would like to speak with you regarding these matters at your earliest convenience, either by phone or in a meeting. Please let me know.

Finally, I wanted to tell you that I appreciate your references to our hard working employees and contractors. They have performed magnificently and safely, under trying circumstances.


Joe Rigby
Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer
Pepco Holdings, Inc.


Joe Rigby, Chairman, President and CEO of Pepco Holdings, Inc., sent the following letter to Maryland Gov. Martin OMalley in response to a letter from the governor regarding storm outages.

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About pepcoconnect

Pepco, a subsidiary of Pepco Holdings, Inc., delivers safe, reliable and affordable electric service to more than 788,000 customers in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Pepco is committed to providing its customers with information on energy conservation, renewable energy sources and steps the company is taking to meet customers' changing needs.

6 thoughts on “Pepco Holdings’ Rigby Responds to Gov. O’Malley

  1. I commend you, Mr. Rigby, for being kind enough to agree to entertain a telephone call from Governor O’Malley. I know you must be quite busy and taking time out of your schedule to speak to the Governor must take some degree of personal sacrifice.

    Open lines of communication are always good. We all saw this last week, when power went down and there was no way of any kind to communicate with Pepco or even report an outage. And as imprecise as the Pepco outage maps might be, they are completely uselesss if you can’t power up yyour computer to even check on imprecise information.

    It is similarly gracious of you to agree to cooperate with any investigation the Public Service Commission undertakes. I would suspect that would Pepco stonewall the commission as it has thus far done with the public, it would not sit well with the PSC. which might then need to utilize its subpoena power and oher remedies.

    In this same vein, it was quite kind of you to agree to “work” with the Governor and the assembly on reliability measures. I would respectfully suggest that we all know that what you are really saying is your team of lobbyists will be working on overdrive to make sure that the standards are as far from rigid as possible.

    If Pepco had any interest in serving its customer base, Pepco should step up to the plate and announce its own rigid standards, without waiting for the political process. Those standards should include real accountability at every level of Pepco.

    As a utility, Pepco is not only accountable to its shareholders but to the public. That accountability must be accepted at every level of the corporation.

    Under your watch, Pepco’s performance during the last year has been abysmal. Pepco has put life and limb in danger and will do so again no doubt during the next outage.

    For example, I might suggest that instead of announcing a quarterly dividend to your shareolders, as you did this week, good leadership would have called for you to announce a reduction in dividends and an investment in servicing your customers and protecting your franchise.

    In the interim and in the absence of such action, I will work with community leaders to take such steps as may be available to terminate Pepco’s franchise.

  2. We should not have outages to begin with, regardless of the quality of the utility company’s response. Instead of modernizing their way of communicating, it is the infrastructure they are profiteering from which they should bring into the 21st century!!!

  3. Dear Joe,

    As much as you “appreciate” the frustration of the governor and the Pepco customers, I would sincerely prefer you remedy the problems. You are the CEO, it’s in your job description, somewhere……maybe. Maybe not……

    You may be interested in the fact that another utility uses the same acronym, Pepco. It’s the Pakistan Electric Company and it seems they have similar issues with power outages. This an excerpt from a Pakistani newspaper called The Nation:

    Pepco passes the buck to PSO for current outages
    Published: January 15, 2011 ⁠ ⁠

    LAHORE – Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) has blamed Pakistan State Oil (PSO) for current loadshedding in the country. At the same time, the company maintained that the media was presenting gloomy scenario regarding power crises and duration of blackouts across the country………

    So, Joe, how about it? I’m not in Pakistan, I’m in Silver Spring, MD. If I wanted a Third World life experience, I’d move there. I don’t. I want a reliable power provider.

    LeeAnne Ayres

  4. I have called Pepco repeatedly since August 2010 to ask why the “pole transfers” on my street have not been completed. At the bottom of my street (43rd Avenue & Queensbury) a new pole was installed February 2010 during the snow storms, the old pole is leaning. In the alley near my house there are at least 2 poles that need wires transferred and the old poles removed. We had several broken poles in the July 2010 storms last summer. These old poles are leaning too. The old poles are NOT in the ground, they were left propped up in place after the new poles were placed. Come on! These are your poles, please have Comcast and Verizon transfer the wires so Pepco can remove the old poles. I have called your customer service lines and not had any success.

    Is Pepco going to leave the poles until they fall and then damage homeowner property? These are Pepco projects that have been left incomplete and your failure to finish the work will ultimately become my problem as a homeowner if the poles fall.

  5. Dear Mr. Rigby,

    My husband and I have lived in our Silver Spring home for the last 33 years so I have a history with PEPCO which has been more than acceptable until the last few years. At a neighborhood association meeting last fall, representatives of PEPCO admitted that we have had 10 outages in the last year (10/09 to 10/10). At least four of these were multiple day events. This also does not take into account the four days we were without power in January of this year.

    At the urging of our children, we have started to investigate the purchase of a generator when I began to think. Wait, isn’t that why I am paying PEPCO each month to provide a consistent supply of electricity?

    Many years ago as a young college graduate, I worked at the only telephone company then in existence, Bell Telephone. As a monopoly which affectionately became known as Ma Bell, it was drilled into us employees that since we were the only show in town, we had to do better. We had to make sure that people had service and I believe that history shows that we did an excellent job.

    Like it or not, sir, you are in charge of a monopoly. There is no one to pass the buck to and no one else for your customers to turn to. We, all of us, are a captive audience and you and all of your employees have to do better.

  6. Dear Sir,

    By professing zero outages as a goal, you are misleading yourself and others with unattainable, and non realistic, goals.

    How about, “no tree branches within a 10 feet radius of a power lines.”, as a goal.

    When I was a child here, there were very few power outages because tree trimming was realized to be a smart and prudent investment for all.

    I beg you to return to the ways of success.

    Tank you.

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