Reliability work in Columbia Heights

We are continuing our reliability work in Columbia Heights due to recent service issues. We understand the frustration customers have with outages and have already started implementing a plan to fix the issues. We anticipate this work will be completed by the end of June if we have good weather and normal system conditions.

Infrastructure enhancements in this area include:

Completed Work

  • Installed 500 feet of new primary underground cable along Park Road near 11th Street
  • Used smart meter technology to review overload trends which helped us identify transformers to upgrade in two locations

Work in Progress

  • Replacing underground cable on 14th Street between Columbia Road and Monroe Street, NW
  • Expanding a manhole and installing new conduit near Park Road and Holmead Place, NW

Work Starting Soon

  • Replacing underground cable on Park Road between Holmead Place and 14th Street, NW
  • Installing 15-20 feet of conduit on 14th Street near Park Road, NW
  • Installing 350-400 feet of conduit on Park Road east of 14th Street, NW
  • Replacing cable on Park Road between 14th and 11th streets, NW
  • Increasing the capacity of a transformer on Park Rd NW
  • Increasing the capacity of a transformer near Park Road and Holmead Place, NW
  • Replacing a switch at 14th Street and Park Road, NW

We will continue to work with the business community and local representatives in Columbia Heights to coordinate the scheduling of any service interruptions that are necessary to safely complete this work. We may be required to reschedule if we encounter severe weather or cold temperatures. Customers that are affected by this work will be notified.

We remain committed to improving reliability as quickly as possible for our Columbia Heights customers.


Upgrading equipment in Bloomingdale

As part of our ongoing effort to improve reliability for our Bloomingdale customers, we are using smart meter technology to identify equipment that needs to be upgraded. We will be installing new higher capacity transformers in the following areas:Bloomingdale Upgrades

  • Flagler Place and V Street, NW
    Electric service will be interrupted for a small number of customers on Monday, Aug. 12, from 12 a.m. until 6 a.m.
  • Rhode Island Ave between North Capitol and 1st Street, NW
    Electric service will be interrupted for a small number of customers on Wednesday, Aug. 14 from 12 a.m. until 6 a.m.

We are contacting customers that will be affected by this work and will continue to keep them updated on the work we are doing in the Bloomingdale area.

Planned work in Bloomingdale

We are continuing our work in the Bloomingdale area due to recent service issues. Increased load, caused by tremendous growth in the area and the recent heat wave put stress on the aging infrastructure. We understand the frustration customers have with multiple outages and we are implementing a plan to fix the issues.

Work is currently under way to enlarge the underground vault that will house a set of three new higher capacity transformers. Some customers will experience an outage from Monday at 10 p.m. through Tuesday at 6 a.m. while the new transformers are being installed. Those affected by this work will receive a door hanger and phone call. While we understand any outage is an inconvenience, we worked with local businesses to identify the least disruptive time to perform these upgrades.

We are also accelerating work that will increase capacity, replace aging infrastructure and improve reliability in the area.

  • We are reviewing load analysis data to identify additional transformers in the area that need to be upgraded or replaced
    • New smart meter technology will allow us to detect increased load
  • We are using thermal technology to find hot spots that can indicate problems with equipment
  • We have plans to treat cables using silicon injection technology which has been proven to reduce outages

We will continue to keep customers updated on the work we are doing in the Bloomingdale area. If customers have questions, we ask them to please contact Customer Care at 202-833-7500.

Smart Meters Will Change How You Use Your Energy

In 2007, Pepco embarked on a journey called the Blueprint for the Future. This visionary plan consists of an array of energy efficiency programs, the promotion of renewable energy and the deployment of smart meters, part of an initiative known as advanced meter infrastructure or AMI. In 1986, when I began my career, Pepco was beginning to aggressively promote energy efficiency and load management programs, so I knew how effective the Blueprint energy efficiency programs could be if properly implemented. At that time, there was very little discussion about renewable energy, electric vehicles or smart meters, but today these are critical components of our Blueprint plan and AMI — especially smart meters.

With support from our government partners in the District of Columbia and Maryland, we received approval from state and local regulatory agencies to launch a series of electricity efficiency and load management programs for commercial and residential customers. The centerpiece of the Blueprint plan is AMI. You often hear AMI used interchangeably with the words “smart grid” and “smart meters,” which are aspects of AMI. We believe that AMI has the potential to become a game-changer to reduce the demand for electricity during peak times, when it costs the most for us to buy, and to reduce electricity consumption overall.

In 2009, our vision became a reality after Pepco was awarded a $150 million federal grant to fund 50 percent of project costs to fully deploy AMI throughout our entire service territory! During my career, this will be the greatest transformation of our electric distribution system.  We have already installed advanced control systems that automatically isolate failed equipment and restore power in minutes to most of the affected customers.

Smart meters are just one component of AMI. It also includes smart relays and communication devices throughout the system that will serve as the ultimate enabler for renewable energy and electric vehicles. Through the smart meter, customers will be empowered to control their own energy consumption in real-time. This new meter also will provide Pepco with enhanced outage detection capabilities that will make the power restoration process more efficient.

We have made a lot of progress in 2011 with the smart meter installations. In the District of Columbia, we have already installed more than 200,000 meters and should finish installing the rest by the end of the year.  Installations have begun in Maryland, and more than 500,000 meters will be installed by the end of 2012.

I often think of this project in phases of crawl, walk and run.  Today, we are replacing meters. Next year, various benefits of the smart grid will be available which will enable our customers to better manage their energy use. And in many cases, your service will be restored remotely during a storm before you even get home to report it! Tomorrow the possibilities could include your control of home appliances via the Internet.

Pepco is focused on improving service reliability and long-term environmental sustainability for our customers.  We’ve still got work to do. You can rely on us to get the job done! This is our commitment to you.

To learn more about our smart meter installment project, go to or contact an Energy Advisor at (202) 833-7500.

Thomas H. Graham
Pepco Region President