For Immediate Release
Additional line crews and customer call center agents mobilized; Customers urged to prepare for power outages
WASHINGTON - Pepco Holdings, Inc. (PHI) is closely monitoring the path of Hurricane Irene expected to hit the region late Saturday evening and continue through Sunday. The National Weather Service has stated that the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area could experience "extremely destructive" conditions, including high winds, heavy rains, and potential for flooding. PHI has activated its Incident Response Plans in all of its service territories and urges customers to prepare for potential power outages, with the possibility of multi-day outages in some areas.
"Based on the weather updates we have received from the weather services, there is a very real possibility for significant damage to our electrical infrastructure," said Joseph M. Rigby, Chairman, President and CEO of Pepco Holdings, Inc. "Planning and preparation are critical as this storm approaches. We cannot stress enough to each and every one of our customers in the D.C., Maryland, Delmarva Peninsula, and southern New Jersey service regions, that customers' safety and the safety of our crews is our top priority."
Additional Crews Added to Handle Storm Damage
This is an all-hands event and every employee has assumed a second job to support storm preparation and restoration efforts. Additionally, Pepco has mobilized nearly 1,000 personnel who are already in place and dedicated to restoration, some from as far away as Ohio and Pennsylvania. Pepco is continuing to request mutual assistance help from our utility partners located in areas unaffected by this storm.
"Our first priority is the safety of our customers and our crews. Repair crews will begin assessing damage and making repairs once it has been determined that it is safe for them to do so. We cannot send crews out safely until sustained winds drop below 35 miles an hour which is an Occupational Health and Safety (OHSA) requirement," said Mike Maxwell, Vice President of Asset Management for PHI.
Maxwell went on to note several key precautions:
· Do not approach or attempt to move downed power lines.
· Immediately report damage or an outage to Pepco's customer call center at 1-877-PEPCO-62 (1-877-737-2662) or complete an outage report at www.pepco.com.
· Allow trained line crews to handle any damage caused by the storm.
· Pepco's website will have the most up-to-date information regarding service and customers are recommended to go there for status updates.
Maxwell added, "After a severe storm such as this, 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. After that assessment is completed, we will then prioritize work, determine resources needed, and assign crews. Pepco will restore power by targeting wires serving critical infrastructure, such as hospitals, fire stations, and police stations, as well as those serving the greatest number of customers. Again, after a storm of this magnitude, we anticipate that this will be a multi-day outage situation. "
Increased Staff and Technology Upgrades in Place; Customers Urged to Prepare
"In anticipation of the increased call volume, Pepco has doubled the number of access lines and added in house customer service representatives, as well as made arrangements for outside representatives. Additionally, technology upgrades made to the call center over the last 12 months will allow us to better address these calls," said Thomas H. Graham, Pepco Region President. "We urge customers to stay safe and be prepared. We are in continual contact with state and local emergency management agencies to ensure a coordinated community response."
Graham recommended the following:
· Visit www.pepco.com for preparation tips and follow the advice of your local emergency management officials.
· Assemble an emergency "storm kit," including:
· 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.
· Keep at least a three-day supply per-person of non-perishable foods and bottled water, as well as a hand-operated can opener.
· 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.
· Have adequate prescription medicines or infant supplies on hand.
· Tune in to local news broadcasts for the latest weather and emergency information.
· If you use an personal generator, please take all recommended precautions
· 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.
"A storm of this proportion will present significant challenges. We will continue to provide updates to the media and we encourage customers to be patient and understand that we will restore power when it's safe to do so. Our entire community is facing a storm of major proportions. The safety of our customers and our crews is our top priority," Graham concluded.
Additional information may be found at www.pepco.com
About PHI : Pepco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: POM) is one of the largest energy delivery companies in the mid-Atlantic region, serving about 1.9 million customers in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland and New Jersey. PHI subsidiaries Pepco, Delmarva Power and Atlantic City Electric provide regulated electricity service; Delmarva Power also provides natural gas service. PHI also provides energy efficiency and renewable energy services through Pepco Energy Services.
About Pepco: 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.