Weathering the Storm

Violent storms are more frequent in a changing world, and it is essential to be prepared. For us, that means planning thoroughly before weather threatens, responding quickly when a storm hits, and restoring power as safely and quickly as possible in the event of an outage. Safety is our top priority and we encourage you to review these tips to prepare and stay safe when severe weather strikes.

Storm Kit

Before a Storm

  • Assemble an emergency storm kit that contains items you’ll need in the event of a prolonged power outage:
    • Flashlights and extra batteries
    • Battery-powered radio or TV
    • Land-line phone with cord (cordless phones require electricity)
    • Supply of bottled water (one gallon per person per day)
    • First-aid kit and prescription medications
    • Blankets, bedding or sleeping bags
    • Hand-operated can opener
    • Special medical or infant supplies
    • Variety of hand tools
    • List of emergency phone numbers
  • Develop and practice an emergency plan with everyone in your household
  • Make sure cell phones are charged and download the Pepco Self-Service app (pepco.com/mobileapp) for your mobile device so you can report outages, get estimated restoration times, access interactive outage maps, and call us through a direct dial link

During a Storm

  • Locate your emergency storm kit
  • Tune in to local news broadcasts
  • Never go near downed wires and always stay clear of working crews
  • Avoid wet and flooded areas as electricity and water are a dangerous combination

If Power Goes Out

  • Report your outage through our mobile app, website, or by calling 1-877-737-2662
  • Unplug or turn off TVs, appliances and most lamps, and leave one lamp switched on so you know when power is restored
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed
  • Close shades or curtains to keep rooms cooler
  • Be safe around candles and open flames
  • If you are operating a generator, make sure that you follow all safety guidelines

Our Power Restoration Process
Our restoration process begins once the storm has passed and conditions are safe for our professionals. The video below shows the order that we approach systems to help ensure quick and safe restoration of power.

For more helpful tips, download and print our Storm Preparation Handbook.

Important Phone Numbers
Report Power Outages and Downed Wires: 1-877-737-2662
Customer Service: 202-833-7500
Servicio en Español: 202-872-4641
TTY for Hearing Impaired: 202-872-2369

Advertisements

Learn About Our Emergency Medical Equipment Notification Program

At Pepco, we recognize that some of our customers rely on life-support equipment that requires electricity to operate.  We encourage these customers to sign up for our Emergency Medical Equipment Notification Program (EMENP). The program provides advance notice of scheduled outages and severe weather alerts to customers who depend on electricity for emergency medical and life-support equipment.

Storm Kit

What We Provide To Qualified Participants

  • An annual information package to help customers with life-support equipment prepare for emergencies in their homes
  • Advance Notification of scheduled outages for maintenance or construction work that might affect their electric service
  • Advance Notification of severe storms such as hurricane warnings that could lead to extended outages on our electric system

Please note that since customers who rely on electricity to power life-support equipment are located throughout our service area, it is not possible to provide restoration priority to these customers following storm outages. In addition, the program does not exempt customers from disconnection of electric service for non-payment.

How to Get Started

To enroll, please download, print and complete the certification form or call our Customer Care Team to request the certification form to be mailed to you. The fax number for submitting completed certification forms is 800-461-9737, or you may send the form to us through:

Mail:
Pepco
Customer Credit Department
701 Ninth Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20068-0001

Email: MedicalForms@pepco.com

Download:
Certification Form for MD Residents
Certification Form for DC Residents

How to Prepare For Emergencies 

  • Assemble a “storm kit” and include a battery-operated radio or television, flashlight, a first-aid kit, battery powered or windup clock, extra batteries, an insulated cooler and a list of important and emergency phone numbers.
  • Keep at least a 3-day supply of nonperishable foods and bottled water and have a hand-operated can opener available.
  • Check your supplies of medications, prescription drugs and any special health need items such as Contact lens supplies or infant supplies.
  • Identify a location with emergency power capabilities, and make plans ahead of time to go there or to a health care facility during a prolonged outage. One alternative would be to ask a relative or friend who has power if you can stay with them.

For more tips on how to prepare for emergencies, visit our EMENP page on our website.

Important Phone Numbers

Outages
1-877-PEPCO62 (1-877-737-2662)

Customer Care
202-833-7500

Emergencies
To report downed wires and life-threatening emergencies, call us at 1-877-737-2662 and follow the prompts.

TTY: 202-872-2369
Servicio en Espanol: 202-872-4641

Accelerating Improvements in Resiliency and Reliability for Maryland Customers

There has been some confusion about the grid resiliency charge and why we included it in our Maryland rate case filing. I wanted to use our blog to explain why we think the grid resiliency charge is a good thing for both the company and our customers.

Improving ReliabilityWe began working more than two years ago on the biggest reliability effort in our 117-year history, and we are reducing the number and length of outages. We are committed to improving reliability and the customer experience, and that work will continue.

Our proposal for accelerating some of that work stems from a report issued by the Grid Resiliency Task Force. With an increase in frequency and intensity of storms, Governor O’Malley convened this task force in July 2012 to address resiliency and reliability of the Maryland electric distribution system. This task force held eight roundtable discussions featuring community leaders, policy experts and industry stakeholders from across the country. In September, it released a report that recommended accelerating reliability investment and raising reliability standards.

In response to that task force report, we put together a plan that would accelerate improvements in resiliency and reliability for customers. We propose to:

  • Underground six distribution feeders (three in Montgomery County and three in Prince George’s County), reducing the frequency and duration of outages for customers
  • Accelerate our four-year tree-trimming cycle (approximately 1,000 miles each year) to complete the cycle in three years, which would reduce power outages caused by tree branches falling onto power lines
  • Upgrade 12 additional feeders per year for two years
  • Raise the reliability performance beyond the level required by Maryland’s Service Quality and Reliability Standards

The Grid Resiliency Task Force also recommended that the Public Service Commission authorize timely recovery for the accelerated investments and expenses. We proposed to do that through a grid resiliency charge. If approved, customers would see a small increase in their bills. Starting in January 2014, a typical residential customer’s bill would increase about $0.96 per month. In 2015 the surcharge would increase from $0.96 to $1.70 per month, and in 2016 it would increase to $1.93 per month. We want to make significant improvements in resiliency and reliability while keeping the additional charge to customers under $2 per month.

Because reliability work would be accelerated, we think it’s fair to raise the reliability standards that we must meet. If we don’t meet the new accelerated reliability standards by 2015, we will refund customers up to $1 million. If we do meet the new reliability standards, we may receive up to a $1 million incentive.

As I noted earlier, the work we have been doing to improve reliability is paying off. From 2011 to 2012, outages on feeders that we worked on decreased by 39 percent and those outages that did occur were 42 percent shorter. We expect to meet the reliability standards that are currently in place without performing the proposed grid resiliency projects. However, by doing the work proposed as part of the grid resiliency charge, customers will experience a more resilient and reliable electric system in a much shorter time period. I welcome you to post questions in the comment section below.

Tom Graham
President, Pepco Region

Continuing to Improve Reliability

Copy of _DSC0019a_ReliabilityOur customers are continuing to see fewer and shorter outages, thanks to the reliability work we’re doing. From 2011 to 2012, outages on feeders that Pepco worked on as part of our Reliability Enhancement Plan decreased by 39 percent and those outages that did occur were 42 percent shorter.

Between September 2010 and January 2013, we:

  • Trimmed more than 4,850 miles of trees along power lines in Maryland and about 850 miles in the District of Columbia. We plan to trim another 1,225 miles in Maryland and the District between now and the end of the year.
  • Renewed or replaced more than 650 miles of neighborhood underground electric cable in Maryland and 58 miles in the District, with plans to do the same for another 200 miles between now and the end of the year.
  • Improved the service of feeder lines that bring power into neighborhoods with the poorest reliability by upgrading more than 115 distribution feeders in Maryland, 66 feeders in the District of Columbia. We plan to complete work on about 100 more this year in the region.

Since we began our reliability work in September 2010, we also have:

  • Doubled the number of Customer Care representatives who take calls and more than doubled the number of phone lines.
  • Made arrangements to use outside customer service help during major outages.
  • Retrained all Customer Care representatives and additional help.

We are upgrading our system to make sure we can provide safe and reliable service for our customers day to day and during storms, and our work continues.

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.

Mutual Assistance Crews Arriving Ahead of Storm

We are closely monitoring the changing forecasts and preparing for the worst of the predictions. Mutual assistance crews from Alabama and Georgia have begun to arrive.  We have requested over 300 mutual assistance crews for the storm restoration effort.

We have more than 450 overhead line contractors already working on the system and available, along with over 300 tree contractor crews actively performing reliability enhancement tree trimming work, in addition to preparing for restoration work.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the Washington Metropolitan Area from Tuesday evening to Wednesday evening. Weather forecasts are still changing, but some predict snow accumulations of about a foot through the Pepco region with wind gusts of up to 35 mph. A Winter Storm Watch means there is also a potential for significant sleet and/or ice.

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 cause 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 through our website or through our mobile app.

For more information and updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter and download our mobile app.