As the sole electric provider in our region, Pepco’s main focus is to supply customers with consistent reliable service. When storms move across our service territory though, the potential for outages increases. It’s just a part of the utility business.
According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Irene is moving up the east coast with winds up to 115 mph. Though the storm will be offshore by the time it nears our service territory, we are still preparing for any potential effects it may bring. The possible combination of rain and wind that comes with this storm can result in weakened trees (and limbs) coming into contact with our power lines resulting in potentially extensive, widespread outages.
What we are faced with is a major effort to first minimize the number of outages, followed closely with minimizing the duration of outages that occur. Our reliability enhancement efforts will help with minimizing the number of outages and the following precautionary steps will help with minimizing the outages that occur:
- Scheduled extended shifts for Pepco crews, Customer Service Reps & additional support staff
- Received 150 personnel from First Energy in Ohio (Photos of their arrival)
- Secured 340 on call utility contractors
- Secured 330 tree crews from Asplundh
Though we’re preparing for the storm, there are a few measures customers can take to help prepare too:
- Have adequate prescription medicines or infant supplies on hand.
- If you or someone you know uses life-support equipment that requires electricity to operate, identify a location with emergency power capabilities and make plans to go there or to a hospital during a prolonged outage.
- Assemble an emergency “storm kit.” Include a battery-powered radio or television, flashlight, a first-aid kit, battery-powered or windup clock, extra batteries, special needs items, an insulated cooler and a list of important and emergency phone numbers.
- Keep at least a three-day supply of non-perishable foods and bottled water and have a hand-operated can opener available.
- Have a telephone with a cord or cell phone to use as a backup. Cordless telephones require electricity to operate, and won’t work if there is an outage.
- Protect your electronic equipment. Unplug sensitive electronics or plug computers and other sensitive equipment into surge suppressors, and consider a UPS (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 you have an electrically operated sump pump, you should not turn off your power.
- Tune in to local news broadcasts for the latest weather and emergency information.
- Follow the advice of your local emergency management officials.
- Take cover if necessary.
- Stay away from downed wires.
- Call 1-877-PEPCO-62 (1-877-737-2662) and press “2” to report a downed wire.
- To report an outage, call 1-877-PEPCO-62 (1-877-737-2662) and press “1” for the automated system.
‘Til the next post,