For Immediate Release
Outages Could be Widespread; Restoration Could be Multi-Day Event
Utility Requests 600 Mutual Assistance Crews; 150 Already are on Site
Customers Urged to Prepare
WASHINGTON - Pepco is closely monitoring the approach of Hurricane Irene, which could strike the Pepco service territory early Saturday. Weather services are predicting that the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area will experience heavy rain and high winds over a sustained period this weekend, which could cause widespread and extended power outages. The subsequent restoration could be a multi-day event. Pepco has initiated its Incident Response Plan and is strongly urging customers to prepare for the possibility of outages.
"Pepco understands that reliable electrical supply is critical to the everyday lives of customers, and as a result, Pepco has been proactively preparing to restore service as quickly and safely as possible if our area experiences outages from Hurricane Irene," said Thomas H. Graham, Pepco Region President. "This storm has the potential to cause extensive power outages that could require crews to work around the clock for multiple days to restore service. This is an all-hands event and every employee will assume a second job to support restoration efforts. I urge customers to prepare for possible extended outages."
Pepco Mobilizes Crews and Staff
In anticipation of the storm, Pepco and its parent company, Pepco Holdings, Inc. began aggressively planning and preparing for the storm on Monday. Early on, the company requested the assistance of 600 personnel from other utilities; 150 from First Energy in Ohio already have arrived in the Washington area. These crews will be deployed depending on the location of the greatest damage. Pepco is keeping on call 340 utility contractors who already are working on the system and has secured 330 tree crews from Asplundh. Pepco's line crews are prepared to work extended hours and the company has alerted additional staff to provide support services, including customer service staff.
Pepco is continuing to participate on Mid-Atlantic Mutual Assistance and Southeastern Electric Exchange conference calls with other utilities to request additional field crew assistance as needed. The company has been in contact with state and local emergency management agencies to ensure a coordinated community response.
Depending on the severity of the storm, damage to Pepco's electrical infrastructure could be extensive and power restoration could be a multiple-day event. After severe storms, assessing damage and estimating when customers will be restored could take up to 24 hours after the heart of the storm has moved from the area. Crews are deployed to restore service only when weather conditions become safe.
Customers Urged to Prepare and Be Safe
Pepco urges its customers to prepare for potential power outages and act to ensure their safety. Here are some tips:
· Have adequate prescription medicines or infant supplies on hand.
· If you or someone you know uses life-support equipment that requires electricity to operate, identify a location with emergency power capabilities and make plans to go there or to a hospital during a prolonged outage.
· Assemble an emergency "storm kit." Include a battery-powered radio or television, flashlight, a first-aid kit, battery-powered or windup clock, extra batteries, special needs items, an insulated cooler and a list of important and emergency phone numbers.
· Keep at least a three-day supply of non-perishable foods and bottled water and have a hand-operated can opener available.
· Have a telephone with a cord or cell phone to use as a backup. Cordless telephones require electricity to operate, and won't work if there is an outage.
· Protect your electronic equipment. Unplug sensitive electronics or plug computers and other sensitive equipment into surge suppressors, and consider a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) for temporary battery backup power.
· Turn off power to flood-prone basement appliances if it is safe to do so. However, if you have an electrically operated sump pump, you should not turn off your power.
· Tune in to local news broadcasts for the latest weather and emergency information.
· Follow the advice of your local emergency management officials.
· Take cover if necessary.
· Stay away from downed wires.
· Call 1-877-PEPCO-62 (1-877-737-2662) and press "2" to report a downed wire.
· To report an outage, call 1-877-PEPCO-62 (1-877-737-2662) and press "1" for the automated system.
Additional information may be found at www.pepco.com.
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.