For Immediate Release
Company Executed Strategic Restoration Plan;Mobilized Maximum Resources to Complete Restoration
WASHINGTON - Pepco has fully restored power to all 220,000 customers who reported that they lost electrical service in the wake of Hurricane Irene. The vast majority-almost 95 percent of all customers-had power restored within 48 hours and repair activity continued full force, around the clock, until every customer affected by Hurricane Irene had electrical service.
"This has been an immense restoration effort. We could not have accomplished this as quickly, safely and efficiently as we have if it were not for the planning, preparation and execution of staff and crews," said Thomas H. Graham, President, Pepco Region. "We appreciate the patience and understanding of our customers and the cooperation of all involved. We would like to specifically thank the hard-working crews-our own and those from our utility partners-emergency management agencies, government officials and the media."
The company began executing its restoration strategy nearly a week before Irene swept into the mid-Atlantic region, uprooting trees and downing power poles, causing massive damage to Pepco's electrical infrastructure. Pepco mobilized maximum internal and external resources, dedicating more than 2,500 personnel to the restoration effort including line assistance from as far away as Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana and Texas.
Pepco proactively communicated with customers before and throughout the storm, alerting them to prepare for a multi-day restoration event and regularly providing updates on restoration status. Senior executives conducted daily conference calls with government officials both in advance of the storm and also during the restoration activities to address their concerns and those of their constituents.
Pepco closely monitored the path of Hurricane Irene for more than a week prior to the storm hitting its service territory on Saturday, Aug. 27.
Restoration plans were activated on Monday, Aug. 22, and preparations were made in anticipation of an all-hands event. That same day, Pepco, and its sister utilities, took part in the first mutual assistance call and requested 600 outside line personnel from its utility partners. Pepco received an initial 150 utility workers from Ohio and Pennsylvania on Wednesday, Aug. 24, who conducted reliability enhancement work until late Saturday, stopping when high winds created a situation in which it was no longer safe to do so. The company continued to make additional requests for mutual assistance crews until Pepco had mobilized more than 800 line-restoration personnel from other utilities to assist with restoration.
Pepco was tracking the storm's path and activated the Crisis Call Center in anticipation of Hurricane Irene making landfall in our service territory. The company staffed more than 250 customer care representatives to help answer emergency calls in advance of the storm. On Thursday, Pepco placed more than 1,500 outbound calls to customers who had enrolled in its emergency medical equipment program urging them to activate their emergency plans; automated calls were made on Friday to nearly 640,000 residential and small business customers encouraging them to prepare for a severe storm and a multi-day outage event.
Hurricane Irene struck the Washington area with 65 mph winds, which downed trees and power lines, causing massive damage to Pepco's electric system infrastructure. At its peak, the storm left 220,000 customers without power-63,000 in Montgomery County, Md., 126,000 in Prince George's County, Md., and 31,000 in the District of Columbia.
Assessment patrols communicated damage reports in real time using advanced technologies, enabling more efficient dispatch of crews. Uprooted trees and fallen limbs were significant contributors to the extensive damage the system suffered.
In total, Pepco mobilized more than 1,400 line personnel, 700 field support personnel and 440 call center personnel, who worked around the clock with a focus on safety until all customers were restored.
The company was in constant contact with state and local emergency management agencies, fire departments and departments of transportation to ensure a coordinated community response. Pepco leveraged mutual assistance call centers and crisis information centers to ensure that all customers were up-to-date about important information regarding the storm and the restoration process. Pepco received more than 250,000 customer calls during the storm .
Although initial outages associated with Hurricane Irene have now been restored, tree limbs weakened by the storm may continue to fall and cause additional outages. Pepco crews are patrolling major power lines over the next few days to spot potential problems of this nature. In addition, extra line personnel will be available over the holiday weekend to repair any new equipment problems.
If customers experience an outage, Pepco urges customers to report it by calling 1-877-PEPCO62 or by going to pepco.com, so repair crews can be dispatched quickly to restore service. Customers who have been on vacation and return home to find that they are without power need to report their outages as well.
With the completion of restoration of service to customers affected by Hurricane Irene, Pepco has released its mutual assistance crews, many of whom will be providing restoration support for utilities in Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
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.