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PEPCO - An Exelon Company
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For Immediate Release
Full Restoration of Customers Affected by June 29 Storm
Crews Assigned to the Last Few Remaining Customers
Company Implemented Strategic Restoration Plan
Mobilized 3,000 Resources to Complete Restoration
- Crews have been assigned to restore service to each of the last few remaining customers of the more than 443,000 customers who lost power in the wake of the violent and destructive storm that hit the Washington metropolitan area on Friday, June 29. As of 5 p.m., less than 100 customers remained out of service. Pepco expects the majority of these customers to be restored this evening.
With the support of about 3,000 total personnel, Pepco has worked full force, around the clock, to restore power to customers impacted by the storm. The vast majority of customers were restored by Wednesday, July 4. A number of outages persisted into the weekend due to heavy localized tree damage that impeded progress and made repairs more challenging.
"The derecho storm was by many accounts the most destructive to strike the Mid-Atlantic region since Hurricane Isabel nearly a decade ago. Restoring service has been a mammoth effort involving about 3,000 internal and external personnel with reinforcements from as far away as Canada, Oklahoma and Florida," said Thomas H. Graham, Pepco Region President. "We appreciate the patience and understanding of our customers who had to cope with outages during record-breaking heat. We thank all personnel dedicated to the restoration effort, our partners at the emergency management agencies who provided critical relief coordination and support, and government officials and the media who assisted with communicating to our valued customers."
The June 29 derecho struck the mid-Atlantic area with wind gusts in excess of 70 miles per hour. The high winds toppled and split trees, knocked down power lines and poles, crushed cars and homes, blocked intersections and generally wrought nearly unprecedented damage to Pepco's electric system infrastructure.
At its peak, the storm left more than 443,000 Pepco customers without power. In the District of Columbia, 63,849 customers were without power at peak; in Montgomery County, Md., 237,925 customers; and in Prince George's County, 141,340. Also at peak, the storm left 4.1 million customers without power throughout the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic.
Although the derecho storm provided little warning, in preparation for the possible weekend thunderstorms, Pepco activated its emergency incident response plan early on Friday, June 29, holding over line crews, securing local contractors, activating its internal emergency response personnel and reviewing material inventories. By 6 a.m., Saturday, June 30, all Pepco employees were on deck, outside reinforcements were being aggressively recruited and a comprehensive damage assessment and initial restoration effort begun. By Monday, 700 outside crew members had arrived to support the restoration effort. That number would grow to more than 800 for a total force of about 2,000 Pepco, local contractor and out-of-state field crew members. These crews remained hard at work through the following weekend. Including support personnel, Pepco had a total of more than 3,000 resources dedicated to the restoration effort.
To help process incoming crews and strategically distribute materials, two staging areas were up and running by Saturday afternoon, June 30-one at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds and another at the Capital Plaza Shopping Center in Prince George's County. In addition, the company activated its regional storm centers to more effectively dispatch crews to local outages.
To keep customers informed, Pepco proactively updated Twitter, Facebook, the mobile outage reporting and tracking application, and the website, which experienced an increase of traffic of 1,600 percent; answered more than 575,000 customer phone calls; issued continual press updates; held press conferences; conducted countless media interviews; and held daily conference calls with government officials.
Pepco personnel staffed the state and local emergency management agencies and emergency operations centers and the company was in constant contact with fire departments and departments of transportation to ensure a coordinated community response.
The extreme heat forecast for the remainder of the weekend, combined with existing storm-related damage to the electric system and high demand for electricity may cause additional outages. Pepco asks customers to continue conserving electricity.
The following tips will help customers reduce their energy use:
During hot weather, a central air conditioner can account for 30 percent of a customer's energy bill. Pepco suggests checking the air filter regularly - a clean air filter improves system efficiency, which should lead to energy savings.
Set your thermostat at 78 degrees Fahrenheit, a reasonably comfortable and energy-efficient indoor temperature.
Have a professional check your air conditioning system to ensure that it works properly and is not leaking coolant.
Be sure all windows are shut and outside doors are closed when the air conditioning is on.
It is important not to have lamps, televisions or other heat sources close to the air conditioner thermostat. Heat from these sources may cause the air conditioner unit to run longer than it should.
Check to ensure that no furniture or other obstacles are blocking ducts or fans. This will enable cooled air to circulate freely, making your home more comfortable.
To learn more, visit www.pepco.com/energy/conservation/.
Customers Asked to Report Power Outages
Pepco urges customers who are without power to report their outage at pepco.com, through the mobile app or by calling 1-877-737-2662 and following the prompts on the automated system. If reporting an emergency or another life-threatening situation such as downed wires, a customer should immediately call 1-877-737-2662 and follow the appropriate prompts. Customers' reports are vital to Pepco's restoration efforts because, combined with other customer calls and the company's technology, it helps precisely identify the remaining locations without power and speeds restoration.
Pepco also recommends, when reporting an outage, customers request a call-back. Call-backs allow Pepco to notify customers when work in their area is completed. However, although area work has been completed, not every customer may have been restored, if further damage is located on equipment directly serving a customer's home. The call-backs help the utility to locate outages that are specific to customers' homes and still need to be addressed.
To keep up to date on their individual restoration estimates, customers are encouraged to call 877-PEPCO62, visit www.pepco.com, and download our mobile app at www.pepco.com/mobileapp. They also may follow us on Facebook and Twitter at PepcoConnect.
Pepco, a subsidiary of Pepco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: POM), delivers safe, reliable and affordable electric service to more than 788,000 customers in Maryland and the District of Columbia.