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Critical Facilities Required Extra Focus During Derecho Restoration Effort

Nursing homes, drinking water pumping stations were severely impacted

Each priority outage required multiple crews, utility trucks and support personnel

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In the aftermath of the June 29 derecho storm, Pepco crews worked around the clock to get power restored to critical public health and safety facilities. Pepco restored all hospitals without service within 48 hours after the storm passed.

Special attention was focused on the 147 critical care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted living centers that lost power following the June 29 storm. It took 48 hours, 300 resources or about 25 percent of the field technical crew to attack these outages and restore power. For example, one nursing home in Bethesda, Md., had multiple poles down and required about 50 crew members, 26 bucket trucks and five to six diggers to restore service to just this one facility.

Also, a stretch of Bradley Lane in Bethesda, Md., where three nursing homes are located, required 30 crew members and 20 bucket trucks to restore service. Two major power lines had been damaged and the wires were a tangled mess.

Another top priority was restoring the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission Potomac Pumping Filtration Center necessary for clean drinking water and sewage. It took about 100 crew members to repair a major power line that supplies power to the plant. An additional 50 crew members worked 36 hours non-stop to repair the Wheaton auxiliary pumping station that pushes water throughout Montgomery County and the Sandy Landing Pumping station that serves Rockville. There were many trees and poles down in a densely wooded area with no easy access. Before repair work could begin, downed trees and debris had to be cleared away.

Pepco also partnered with the District of Columbia, Montgomery County and Prince George's County Public Works and Transportation agencies to clear intersections and make them safe. About 20 crew members and 10 bucket trucks worked to get this done.

Coordination among Pepco and state and local emergency management agencies is essential to the integrated response required when natural disasters such as an earthquake, hurricane or derecho devastate the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region.

In the aftermath of the June 29 storm, Pepco embedded communications personnel into state and local emergency management agencies (EMA) and emergency operations center to facilitate communications and collaborate on setting priorities for restoring critical public health and safety facilities.

"Although no amount of preparation can prevent catastrophic damage from windstorms such as the one that struck us last Friday, effective collaboration between utilities and the EMA is critical for being able to respond as effectively as possible," said Chris Geldart, District of Columbia Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.

After the storm, Pepco responded to more than 4,000 reports of downed wires, whether they were electric or communications cables. Pepco works closely with fire and police officials to ensure they know how to safely work around wires down and other electrical emergencies.

"The Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security has worked closely with Pepco around emergency response, especially around training first responders on how to handle emergencies involving live power lines," said Chris Voss, Montgomery County Emergency Management. "Pepco's Emergency Services Partnership Program has made the safety of our first responders a priority."

Local EMAs also provide shelter, food, water and other assistance to citizens in times of great need. During the recent record-breaking heat, cooling centers were an important part of the emergency response plan.

"Cooling centers are critical to helping residents cope who lose power during heat waves," said Prince George's County Director of Emergency Management Ronald Gill. "We are committed to ensuring the safety of county citizens during emergencies such as the one experienced after last week's wind storm."

"We are grateful to our government partners who help ensure a coordinated, integrated, community response after devastating natural events," said Thomas H. Graham, Pepco Region President.

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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.

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