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For Immediate Release

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Pepco to Examine Electric Infrastructure in Georgetown

CEO Commits Company to Hire Engineering Consultants and Make Substantial Improvements

For Immediate Release
June 6, 2000

Pepco announced today that due to recent events and the unique characteristics of delivering electricity to Georgetown, it plans a complete evaluation of the infrastructure there, assisted by outside engineering experts whom Pepco will hire as soon as possible.

The announcement is prompted by recent events: The shopping and residential areas of M Street have experienced two significant manhole fires in the last four months that have led to power outages. Georgetown residents, business owners, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners, elected officials and regulators have expressed their concerns about safety and reliability.

"We understand the concerns of area consumers regarding reliability and public safety that must go hand-in-hand with the 21st century's dependency upon electricity," said John M. Derrick, Jr. "While we are committed to aggressively inspect equipment in manholes and test new vented covers, I believe there is more we can do. I have just approved the hiring of outside consultants to assist us in evaluating our existing engineering designs and equipment placement in Georgetown."

Derrick described some of the characteristics of Georgetown that make it unique: M Street is a major east-west corridor for all major utilities, and therefore the underground infrastructure is particularly congested there. As a historic area with few new buildings or commercial development, Georgetown has not seen the reconstruction and modernization of electric system that has occurred in many other parts of the city, particularly where the Metrorail system was built and large new buildings were constructed.

"Even though overall reliability in Georgetown has been very good, we anticipate that, based on the results of our evaluation, substantial improvements in the infrastructure may be necessary for the future. These could cause disruption to the residents and businesses of Georgetown, and we intend to work closely with local groups and officials to minimize the impact and reflect citizen concerns in our plan," Derrick added.

This effort will be the most recent addition to Pepco's reliability enhancement program for its entire delivery distribution system that it launched last year. This includes a multi-million dollar investment in newly available high-tech equipment that can pinpoint locations of outages, restore power remotely, transmit data between field crews to speed restoration and virtually eliminate busy signals when customers report outages.

Point of Contact:
Nancy Moses

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