For Immediate Release
New Storm Brings New Outages
Blizzard conditions today forced Pepco to interrupt round-the-clock power restoration efforts as high winds and low visibility made it unsafe for repair crews to operate. Company vehicles were ordered off the road and linemen were told to take shelter in their trucks until conditions improve. Most local governments also told their plows to suspend operations.
Restoration will resume as soon as the storm abates. Repair crews have been working 16-hour shifts since last week's near blizzard left nearly 200,000 Pepco customers in the dark. As of 10 a.m. today, power had been restored to all but about 2,500 customers.
"Safety remains our number one concern," said Thomas Graham, Pepco Region President. "Once we are able to resume work safely, we will have several crews dedicated to restoring those customers that were still without power before the crews were forced to stand down."
The new storm brought with it new outages which are expected to climb throughout the day as the winds became more severe. Trees still laden with snow from last week's storm are likely to cause new problems from broken limbs and entire trees that fall into the lines. Also, the new snow will make it that much more difficult for crews to reach new outage locations.
To help customers stay safe until their power is restored, Pepco offers the following safety guidelines and tips:
• Make a plan for what to do if your power goes out.
• If your household includes small children, elderly or frail persons or someone with serious health issues, consider taking shelter somewhere warm-stay with relatives or friends, or go to a hotel. If a member of your household is dependent on electrical medical devices for their well-being, plan to relocate that person to a place of safety that has uninterruptible power. If possible, take action before the storm gains momentum.
• Prepare an emergency kit for you and your household - including pets. Make sure it includes:
o Flashlights; fresh batteries; a battery-powered radio and/or television set; and a battery-powered clock.
o A three-day supply of nonperishable food, along with a hand-operated can opener.
o Three gallons of drinking water per person - and per pet.
o Extra tap water for flushing and washing if you rely on well water.
o Extra blankets and sleeping bags in case you lose heat.
o A first-aid kit and extra prescription drugs.
o A telephone with a cord (that plugs into the wall) or a fully charged cell phone to use for emergency calls. Cordless land-line phones will not work when power is out.
Electrical Safety - The storm has brought down power lines across our territory. Assume that all power lines and electrical equipment are "live."
· Stay away from downed power lines and call 1-877-737-2662 to report downed wires to Pepco. Stay away from standing water, and make sure children and pets are kept safely away.
· Turn off electric appliances and lights; leave one light on so you know when power has been restored.
· Do not attempt to move downed or damaged power lines with branches, boards, etc.
· Clear snow away from appliance intake and exhaust vents to maintain proper airflow ventilation. Blowing and drifting snow can clog such vents and create a fire hazard.
Generators, Fireplaces and Grills
• If you use a generator to supply backup power, operate it safely. Do not operate indoors, in a garage or near doors or windows to avoid exposure to deadly carbon monoxide.
• If possible, appliances should be connected directly to small portable generators by an extension cord rather than through home wiring. Customers should consult the generator's instruction manual for proper installation, operation and maintenance. The installation should be inspected by a qualified electrician.
• Do not burn charcoal indoors, even if you have a fireplace. Burning charcoal indoors can expose you to deadly carbon monoxide.
• If you use a grill, use it outside. If you use a fireplace, burn only the fuel it was designed for.
Candles and Portable Gas or Kerosene Heaters
• Candles can be hazardous and even deadly if not used properly; Pepco does not recommend the use of candles. Portable fuel-burning heaters pose the same dangers as candles.
• Use a battery-powered flashlight, lantern or other device if your lights go out.
• If you do use candles, keep them away from flammable items such as curtains, clothing, papers or other potentially flammable material.
• If you use portable heaters, follow the manufacturer's instructions and use the same safety precautions as for candles. In addition, ensure adequate ventilation of any room where such heaters are in operation.
• Never leave candles or heaters unattended - especially around children or pets - and extinguish them carefully before leaving the room.
· Keep freezer and refrigerator doors closed; open them only when absolutely necessary. Food will stay frozen for 36-48 hours in a fully loaded freezer if you keep the door closed.
· A half-full freezer will generally keep food frozen for 24 hours.
· More information on keeping food safe is available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Web site: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/NR_032409_01/index.asp.
Pepco, a subsidiary of Pepco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: POM), delivers safe, reliable and affordable electric service to more than 750,000 customers in Maryland and the District of Columbia.