For Immediate Release
For Immediate ReleaseSeptember 17, 2003
More Than 700 Crews Set for Power Restoration Effort
Pepco is making final preparations for the expected arrival of Hurricane Isabel tomorrow afternoon. The company will have in excess of 700 crews working on power restoration efforts in the event of widespread outages. That includes more than 300 crews from out of state utilities, including Detroit Edison and Atanta-based Southern Co. The crews are already enroute and will stage in areas close to Pepco's service territory, from which they can quickly come to the company's assistance once the storm passes.
As of 6 p.m tonight Pepco employees will begin working around the clock 12-hour shifts. Vacations for the majority of Pepco employees have been put on hold. Power restoration efforts will begin as soon as winds diminish to the point where worker safety is not endangered.
Pepco has also ordered 350,000 pounds of dry ice and is making arrangements to set up distribution outlets in at least three locations for access by customers in Pepco's service area, which includes all of the District of Columbia and the majority of Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland.
The company also has replenished its warehouses to ensure adequate supplies of utility poles, transformers, cable and other supplies are available.
Pepco storm managers are in frequent contact with emergency management officials in the District of Columbia and Maryland to coordinate storm preparation efforts.
Pepco urges customers to prepare for the possibility of extended power outages that could result from downed trees and limbs blown into power lines. Customers should have emergency preparedness kits, including flashlights, a battery-powered radio with fresh batteries, spare batteries, canned food and a can opener, a supply of fresh water for several days, a first-aid kit, essential medications for those who use prescriptions, diapers and wipes if necessary, pillows and blankets or sleeping bags. Customers with special medical needs are urged to make arrangements for assistance if they are unable to be without power for more than a few hours.
To report a power outage customers should call: 1-877-Pepco-62 (1-877-737-2662). Pepco's answering system can handle up to 100,000 calls per hour and was put into place three years ago to eliminate busy signals and avoid the need to remain on hold when reporting an outage. Following last month's storm-related outages the company revised the callback feature of the system to make it more user friendly. The company has also trained additional employees to respond to customer calls and will triple the number of staff in the call center for the duration of the storm restoration.
Pepco strongly encourages customers to make safety a priority. Stay away from downed power lines. All downed lines should be treated as if they are energized. And individuals should not approach them or touch them. If citizens see a downed wire they should call Pepco at (202) 872-3432 or local authorities and report it. Keep away from flooded areas and stay indoors. Remember, electricity and water is a dangerous combination. Even wading in a shallow puddle or flooded basement that is exposed to an energized line could cause a harmful electrical contact.
Customers who use private electrical generators in the event of a power outage should make sure those generators are not connected to Pepco's system. This will prevent generators from inadvertently feeding back into the system and posing a risk to repair crews who are working on the system and to any customers who may be exposed to downed lines. Customers should refrain from connecting generators to their home circuit breakers or fuse boxes. Private generators should be run outdoors and appliances should be connected directly to the generator by an extension cord.
Pepco is asking customers whose service has been disrupted to shut off major appliances, such as electric water heaters and air conditioners and to leave one light switch on. This will help prevent an overload once power is restored.
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About Pepco: For more than 100 years, Pepco has served the people of the Washington metropolitan area with clean, reliable and low-cost electricity. Pepco, a wholly owned subsidiary of Pepco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: POM), provides electricity transmission and distribution services to more than 700,000 customers in the District of Columbia and major portions of Prince George`s and Montgomery County in Maryland.
Point of Contact:Robert Dobkin