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Independent Consultants Find Pepco's Electrical Distribution System Well Designed

Report States that Full Implementation of Company's Tree Trimming Plan is Key to Enhanced Reliability

WASHINGTON - Pepco appreciates the useful Report prepared by the Maryland Public Service Commission's independent consultants hired to determine the root causes for the scope, frequency and duration of Pepco's outages, both storm and non-storm related.

Pepco agrees with many of the findings contained in the Report, and says the work that the company has under way is consistent with the findings.

Pepco Holdings Chairman, President, and CEO, Joseph Rigby, noted "Although the Commission's independent consultants concluded that Pepco's physical storm restoration efforts were 'reasonably good', we recognize that further improvements, including improved communications with our customers will be critical to restoring confidence in the utility."

The Report concludes that Pepco's distribution system infrastructure is sound, well designed and consistent with good utility practice. However, the Report also makes several key recommendations for system improvements, including increased vegetation management, the addition of advanced technologies that can help detect outages and restore power more quickly, and improved methods of estimating outage durations and communicating with customers.

Consistent with the consultants' recommendations, the Company looks forward to further developing the components of its comprehensive Six-Point Reliability Enhancement Plan in order to achieve greater system reliability and customer satisfaction.

Pepco's comprehensive Six-Point Reliability Enhancement Plan, and other measures it is undertaking, can and will lead to better service for our customers. Pepco is trimming trees that threaten power lines, installing new equipment in neighborhoods that have recurring power problems, adding and upgrading power lines to meet increased consumer demand, installing advanced technologies to help detect outages and restore power more quickly, replacing aging underground cables, and undergrounding selected power lines. Additionally, Pepco is working to improve customer communications, increase the number of phone lines, improve its outage maps, and provide better estimated times for service restoration.

The Six-Point Reliability Enhancement Plan has a budget for reliability expenditures in the Pepco's Maryland region of at least $256 million over the next five years. The trimming budget in Maryland for 2011 will be about $18 million.

Pepco announced its Reliability Enhancement Plan last summer. Since then in Maryland it has:

  • Trimmed more than 1,200 miles of tree line, 
    •  Of the lines that have been trimmed, 54 percent that failed in last July's storm were not affected by the January 26 storm,
  •  Increased tree trimming crews from 80 to 240,
  •  Replaced more than 53 miles of underground cable;
  • Completed more than 70 projects to enhance the reliability of the feeders serving customers who have experienced the most frequent disruptions.

While Pepco studies the consultants' recommendations for best practices, the company continues to work hard to improve reliability. During the recent windstorm, Pepco restored power to nearly 80 percent of the 47,000 customers who suffered outages in less than 10 hours as a result of system enhancements and improved crew deployments.

Customers interested in updates and monthly progress reliability enhancement plan reports can find them by visiting pepco.com.

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Pepco, a subsidiary of Pepco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: POM), delivers safe, reliable and affordable electric service to more than 778,000 customers in Maryland and the District of Columbia.

© Potomac Electric Power Company, 2019. All Rights Reserved.