For Immediate Release
For Immediate ReleaseOctober 16, 2000
Pepco today began installing the first of 3,000 new slotted manhole covers as part of a multifaceted program to improve its underground electrical system and enhance public safety in the expanded central business district of the District of Columbia.
"Testing of the slotted covers showed that their use should minimize the frequency and impact of manhole cover displacements," said Robert C. Grantley, Group Vice President, Customer Service and Power Distribution. "Should cable faults occur that result in smoke, the slotted covers would permit the smoke to disperse and facilitate early warning and detection."
A Pepco crew installed the first slotted covers in Georgetown. The company expects to have 1,000 installed before the end of the year, placing them in heavily traveled pedestrian areas and crosswalks in similar areas in downtown D.C., including the Capitol Hill area. Pepco is developing a plan for installing the additional covers.
While the overall reliability of Pepco's underground system compares favorably to that of other major cities, the company announced last spring - following a spate of manhole cover incidents - that it was undertaking a comprehensive program to improve its system. In addition to the new covers, the program includes:
Grantley said there is no single answer to resolving problems in an underground electrical system. "We cannot guarantee that underground electrical problems will be totally eliminated with installation of the slotted covers," he said. "However, we can assure you that we are responding aggressively at several levels to ensure our system is as safe and reliable as possible."
Pepco will install the new manhole covers during off peak hours to minimize traffic disruptions. The cast iron covers initially are rust in color, a manufacturer's design feature and they will eventually weather to a gray appearance similar to the existing covers.
Point of Contact:Robert A. Dobkin