Preparing for Severe Weather
Safety Guidelines for Thunderstorms
When thunderstorms roll across an area, they can sometimes cause temporary power outages. Here are some guidelines on what to do if you lose power during a storm, plus information about how we restore electric service.
Keep a storm survival kit ready in case of a power outage. Check your supplies and keep a battery-powered radio and flashlights handy.
Never touch downed or damaged power lines. Any power line that has fallen or is damaged should be considered "live." If you see a fallen or damaged power line, immediately call 911 or call Pepco.
Do not attempt to move downed power lines with branches, boards, fiberglass garden tools, etc. These objects could conduct electricity, and you could be seriously injured or killed.
Inside Your Business
Turn off major appliances, especially such motor-powered appliances as air conditioning compressors, freezers, refrigerators, etc. Turning appliances off during a power outage will prevent possible damage due to circuit overload when service is restored.
Some conditions, such as lightning storms and other unpredictable voltage changes, may result in a surge of power. To prevent appliances from being damaged, you can unplug them during a thunderstorm or install a surge arrestor.
Avoid using the telephone during a storm. Lightning could hit outside and travel along the telephone wire to the receiver, causing a serious shock.
To prevent food from spoiling, avoid opening refrigerator and freezer doors during an outage. Consider a portable generator for back-up power.
Our first priority in all situations remains the same: the safety of the public and our employees. We begin the service restoration process by determining the extent of damage in the affected areas; this information determines where we need to start our repairs.
- Repairs are made first to eliminate any life-threatening conditions, such as downed wires or outages in public safety buildings and hospitals.
- Repairs are next made in areas that will result in restored service for the largest numbers of customers.
- Repairs that affect single homes or businesses are completed.
Because we can reroute power by remote control from our system operations center, many power interruptions last only a short time. However, if trees fall across power lines or high winds or lightning damage equipment, we need to dispatch crews to those areas; this can make the service restoration process take longer.
Please remember that more than one location on a power line can be damaged. If you see our crews leaving your area before your power is restored, it may mean that another area needs repair before power can safely be restored to your area, or the crew may need more equipment to finish the repairs. If all of your neighbors' lights are on and you are still without power, please call and report your outage.
Where To Call
If you experience an outage or see downed or damaged power lines, call Pepco's 24-hour emergency numbers:
Power Outages (24-Hour Line)
We regret that we cannot respond to email outage reports.
202-833-7500, Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Servicio en Español
202-872-4641, 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.
If necessary, call 911 to alert emergency services personnel of possible injuries related to the situation.