Pepco Prepared for Approaching Winter Storm

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Sunday, March 02, 2014

Utility prepared for possibility of significant heavy, wet snow; sleet; and ice
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Pepco is closely monitoring an approaching winter storm. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the Washington Metropolitan Area for a storm that is expected to bring freezing rain, and heavy, wet snow into the service territory.  According to the National Weather Service, the total accumulation for our region is expected to be between a combination of 8 to 12 inches of ice and snow. Pepco is preparing for the worst of the forecasts.

Heavy, wet snow and ice can bring tree limbs into contact with power lines to cause power outages. Heavy rain and oversaturated soil can allow trees already weakened by previous storms to fall onto power lines and equipment to cause power outages. Outages can also occur due to drivers skidding into utility poles along wet roads. 

In addition to damaging the electric system, snow and ice may considerably slow crew efforts to reach substations and outage areas to make repairs. Utility crews — or highway crews when available — must first clear snow to gain access. Icy roads make travel impossible, so crews cannot start repair work until roads become safely passable.

Pepco will schedule and adjust its workforce with the timing of the weather and any resulting customer outages. Pepco has about 150 internal linemen and more than 450 contractors already working on its system who are available if needed. We have we have participated in mutual assistance calls. We will wait until the storm is closer to evaluate our need for outside crews, but we are not releasing any crews. We will work around the clock to restore any outages that may occur, but customers need to be prepared for the possibility of power outages, especially given the forecast for cold temperatures.

We ask Customers 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:
  • 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 nonperishable foods and bottled water and have a hand-operated can opener available.
  • Make sure you 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. Plug computers and other sensitive equipment into surge suppressors, and consider a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) for temporary battery backup power.
In the Event of a Power Outage
  • Gather in a central room where you have alternative heat. At night, cover windows with drapes or blankets to minimize heat loss. During the day, open blinds to let sun warm the space.
  • If the indoor temperature drops to 55 degrees Fahrenheit or below, open your faucets slightly so they constantly drip to prevent pipes from freezing. 
  • If candles and heaters are used: never leave them unattended, and watch children and pets who could knock them over.
  • Tune to local news broadcasts for the latest weather and emergency information. 
  • Follow the advice of local emergency management officials.
Safety is our No. 1 priority. We urge our customers to stay clear of working crews and any wires hanging loose from poles or lying on the ground. If you see a downed power line, stay away from it. Assume that all downed power lines are live and extremely dangerous. Customers are asked to please call in any downed wires and/or report an outage by calling 1-877-PEPCO-62 (1-877-737-2662).  It is important that customers report their outage and request a call back to verify their power has been restored. Outages also may be reported through pepco.com or through our mobile app.

For more information and updates, visit www.pepco.com and follow Pepco at www.twitter.com/PepcoConnect.

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