The Summer Storm Season Is Here

Weather can be unpredictable, but taking a little time to prepare before a storm strikes can help you stay safe and connected to information in the event of severe weather. We encourage you to review this information and take steps to prepare now.

Before a Storm Strikes
Assemble an emergency storm kit with bottled water, nonperishable foods, blankets, flashlights and extra batteries, a first-aid kit and hand tools. Be sure to stock prescriptions, special medical or infant supplies and other essentials. Then develop and practice an emergency plan with everyone in your household.

If you rely on emergency or life-support equipment such as a respirator or kidney dialysis machine, our Emergency Medical Equipment Notification Program (EMENP) can provide advanced notice of severe storms and scheduled outages. Visit pepco.com/EMENP to learn more.

If severe weather is approaching, charge cell phones and mobile devices, protect and unplug electronics and fill your tub if your water supply depends on electricity. Be sure to download our mobile app to help you stay connected to information.

If Power Goes Out

  • Restoring power safely takes time. Follow these steps to minimize the effect of an outage in your home.
  • Unplug or turn off TVs, appliances and lights, keeping one lamp switched on so you know when power has been restored
  • Keep freezer and refrigerator doors closed
  • Close blinds and shades to keep rooms cool
  • Always operate portable generators outside, away from doors and windows so deadly fumes won’t enter your home or garage
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid overheating
  • When conditions are safe, check on elderly or home-bound neighbors who may be vulnerable to heat stress
Advertisements

Preparing for Winter Storms

Use these helpful tips to be ready when severe weather strikes in winter.

  • Pepco_DSC0090aAssemble an emergency storm kit containing bottled water, non-perishable foods, blankets, flashlights and extra batteries, first-aid kit and prescription medications, special medical or infant supplies, hand tools and other essential items
  • If using a portable generator, always operate it outside and away from doors and windows to prevent deadly carbon monoxide fumes from entering the home
  • Purchase a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector for your home if you plan to use an alternative source of heat – carbon monoxide is not only colorless and odorless, it is deadly
  • Clear snow away from appliance vents located outside your home so your heater, clothes dryer and other appliances will continue to operate safely
  • If your home has a heat pump, clear it of snow to make sure air can circulate properly
  • Remember to take breaks while clearing snow and avoid over exerting yourself
  • When conditions are safe, check on elderly or home-bound neighbors
  • Ensure your contact information is up to date (Have your account number available, call 202-833-7500 and say “update phone number”)

For more safety tips, download and print our Storm Preparation Handbook. Please remember to report outages and downed wires by calling 1-877-737-2662, using the mobile app or by visiting our website.

We are prepared for possibility of continued snow, ice and gusty winds

We have mobilized more than 1,600 employees and contractors including field crews, call center representatives and support staff prepared to meet our customers’ needs during this winter storm. Although weather conditions have not been as severe as some forecasts, we are prepared to respond to outages, and customers should expect the possibility of outages through the night.

Our parent company, Pepco Holdings Inc., has received commitments for more than 400 mutual assistance personnel from as far away as Alabama, some of whom started arriving Tuesday to assist with the power restoration effort throughout our Mid-Atlantic service territory.

After a severe storm, we will restore power by targeting wires serving critical infrastructure, such as hospitals, fire stations, and police stations, as well as those serving the greatest number of customers. It is important that customers report their outage and request a call back to verify their power has been restored.

Customers are asked to please call in any outages and stay away from any down wires.​ To report outages and/or downed wires, please call 1-877-737-2662. For more information and updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter at PepcoConnect, and download our mobile app at www.pepco.com/mobileapp.

We are prepared for the worst of the predictions

We are continuing to monitor the changing weather forecasts and are prepared for the worst of the predictions.

Mutual assistance personnel from Alabama and Georgia began to arrive yesterday and additional personnel are arriving today to assist with restoration efforts. In addition to our internal crews, we have mobilized 400 mutual assistance personnel and they will be assigned as needed across PHI’s three service territories. We have about 450 overhead line contractors and about 300 tree contractors already working on our system who are prepared for storm restoration work. Our Call Centers are staffed and operational 24 hours a day through this event.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the Washington Metropolitan Area through this evening. Weather forecasts predict snow accumulations from 5 to 10 inches through the Pepco region with wind gusts of up to 35 mph. A Winter Storm Warning means there is also a potential for significant sleet and/or ice. We are preparing for the possibility of widespread outages, and we ask our customers to prepare now as well.

Heavy, wet snow, ice, and high winds can bring tree limbs into contact with power lines to cause power outages. Heavy rain and oversaturated soil can allow trees already weakened by previous storms to fall onto power lines and equipment to cause power outages. Outages can also occur due to drivers skidding into utility poles along wet roads.

Customers are asked to please report any outages and stay away from any down wires. To report outages and/or downed wires, please call 1-877-737-2662, follow the prompts, and please ask for a call back to confirm that power has been restored. Call Centers are staffed and operational 24 hours a day through this event. Outages also may be reported on our website or through our mobile app.

For more information and updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter at PepcoConnect.

Restoring Power after Hurricane Sandy

We are closely monitoring forecasts for Hurricane Sandy which predict that the damage from the storm could be unprecedented affecting the entire Northeast.

We have activated all field restoration personnel and have all employee hands on deck to support the effort. We have nearly 600 internal and contract line personnel and 300 tree removal personnel ready for quick mobilization, and our parent company, Pepco Holdings Inc., has requested a total of 3,700 outside crew members through the utility mutual assistance process.  At this time, PHI has received commitments for more than 1,800 crew members from states as far away as Texas and Mississippi, many of whom began to arrive over the weekend. In addition, more than 300 customer call representatives are available to answers calls, about 165 assessors are ready to identify storm damage, and around 635 support personnel are working on their storm response roles.

We are preparing for widespread and multi-day outages, and restoring customers quickly and safely is our top priority. As wait for the storm to subside, I would like to share information with you about our restoration process and how our restoration priorities are set.

Because this storm is anticipated to stay in our area for several days, it may not be safe enough for crews to work until after the worst of the storm has passed.  Our safety guidelines do not allow overhead work to be performed in sustained winds of 35 mph or more, so initiation of our damage assessment and restoration process will depend on when the winds subside.

When it is safe for crews to go into the field, we begin a full damage assessment. While damage assessment is conducted, crews are responding to reports of downed wires. However, while the crews work to make downed wires safe, this does not mean power is necessarily restored – especially if there is additional damage to the electric system.

In addition to downed wires, our top priority is to restore critical facilities such as hospitals and public health and safety facilities that have lost power. We then work “downstream,” beginning with repairs to the backbone of the electric system and then working our way into residential and commercial areas.

This process first considers public health and safety, and gets power to the greatest number of customers as quickly as possible. Chances are that you may never see the utility crew that restores power to your home. The nature of the electric grid means that power is supplied to your home as part of a large, intricate network, so the cause of your outage may be located miles from your home. Just because you don’t see a crew in your area doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. We are working around the clock to restore all customers as quickly and safely as possible; we’re all in this together.

Please report outages and downed wires by calling 1-877-737-2662, using the mobile app or by visiting Pepco.com. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook to get tips on preparing for emergencies and updates on our restoration efforts.

Preparing for Hurricane Sandy

We are preparing for Hurricane Sandy, which has the potential to cause devastating damage to our service territory. Weather services are predicting that the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area will experience heavy rain and high winds over a sustained period, which could cause widespread and extended power outages.

As part of our restoration effort for Hurricane Sandy, we have 150 permanent linemen and 400 contract personnel available.  Our parent company, Pepco Holdings, Inc., is requesting an additional 2,500 line personnel through mutual assistance groups. The allocation of those crews who will be available will be determined when we have more detailed projections of where damage is expected to occur on our system.

 While we are mobilizing for the storm, we encourage customers to prepare for potential power outages and act to ensure their safety.

Here are some tips on preparing for Hurricane Sandy:

  • Have adequate prescription medicines and/or infant supplies on hand.
  • If a customer or someone the customer knows uses life-support equipment that requires electricity to operate, identify a location with emergency power capabilities and make plans to go there 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 will not work if there is an outage.
  • Protect 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 the customer has an electrically operated sump pump, the customer should not turn off the power.

 Safety Tips

  • Stay away from downed wires.
  • Tune to local news broadcasts for the latest weather and emergency information.
  • Follow the advice of local emergency management officials.
  • Take cover if necessary.

Please report outages and downed wires by calling 1-877-737-2662, by visiting Pepco.com or by downloading the mobile app at www.pepco.com/mobileapp. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook to get updates on our restoration efforts.

Thank you to our customers

On June 29, the violent, fast-moving derecho storm tore through states from the Midwest to the mid-Atlantic, leaving in its wake a 700-mile trail of death and destruction, including 34 fatalities, and significantly impacted more than four million customers. At its peak, the storm left more than 450,000 Pepco customers without power, and a state of emergency was declared in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio.

Damage from the derecho stormWe understand the hardship and inconvenience of living without electricity, as caused by the storm, and I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank you for your patience and understanding as more than 3,000 personnel including Pepco forces, and mutual assistance crews worked to restore power. The storm caused significant damage to our critical infrastructure, which needed to be rebuilt prior to restoring power to customers. The restoration effort involved replacing almost 300 utility poles and almost 200 transformers – a significant amount more than what was replaced after Hurricane Irene in 2011. After rebuilding infrastructure, crews focused on restoring power to critical health and safety facilities, and then on restoring homes and businesses.

Yet, even with all of the destruction, Pepco restored power to 90% of customers by midnight on July 4, more than 48 hours before our original estimate. We reached 100% restoration just before dawn on Sunday, July 8. According to the Federal Emergency Management Association, more than 100,000 customers were still without power at that time in other parts of Maryland and nearby states.

In September 2010, Pepco committed $910 million over five years to improving our reliability. In the almost two years since we began that work, we’ve trimmed over 4,000 miles of trees, enhanced 144 power lines and replaced more than 500 miles of underground cable. Customers served by upgraded power lines experienced a 39% reduction in the average number of power outages of normal day-to-day service during 2011 as compared to 2010, and when outages did occur, they were shorter in duration, declining on average by 56% compared to 2010. Today, we are strong and more reliable – but no amount of strengthening to our system could have withstood a storm of this magnitude.

Again, we sincerely thank you for your patience. I would also like to thank customers who took time to show their gratitude – shaking crew members’ hands, and leaving them notes, water and Popsicles, and even sending emails or handwritten thank you notes to the company. We will continue to enhance our reliability, work hard to restore power when storms come again, and keep our customers informed of our progress every step of the way.

Tom Graham
President, Pepco Region