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.