Extensive Outages, Devastating Damage Possible; Restoration Could Take Days
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Pepco is closely monitoring the approach of Hurricane Sandy, which has the potential to cause devastating damage to the D.C. service area.
Pepco has initiated its "Incident Response Plan" to prepare for the storm and is strongly urging customers to get ready now for the possibility of multi-day outages.
"Our emergency teams are active, regional storm teams are communicating and operational teams are preparing for potentially devastating damage to the region's infrastructure," said Thomas H. Graham, president, Pepco region.
Weather services are predicting that the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area will experience heavy rain and high winds over a sustained period, which could cause widespread and extended power outages.
Pepco, which is warning that tens or even hundreds of thousands of customers could lose power during this potentially catastrophic event, is committed to restoring power as quickly and safely as possible, although customer and crew safety remains its top priority. As a result, crews will begin working as soon as winds subside to below 35 mph – a maximum safe wind for workers to go up in bucket trucks per safety regulations.
"We're hearing forecasts that we could see heavy sustained winds for up to 48 hours as this storm makes an agonizingly slow track across our overall system," Graham said. "If winds are too high, we will not be able to start restoration work until they die down so it could be as long as even a day or two before our crews could safely start working to restore power."
Customers Urged 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:
• Have adequate prescription medicines or infant supplies on hand.
• 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 during a prolonged outage.
• 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 non-perishable foods and bottled water and have a hand-operated can opener available.
• 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.
• Fill your gas tank so you can run your automobile to charge mobile devices. Be sure to open garage doors using manual controls to run the vehicle safely.
• Tune in to local news broadcasts for the latest weather and emergency information.
• Follow the advice of your local emergency management officials.
• Take cover if necessary.
• Stay away from downed wires. Assume any downed wire is energized.
Call 1-877-PEPCO-62 (1-877-737-2662) to report a downed wire.
To report an outage, call 1-877-PEPCO-62 (1-877-737-2662) or report through our mobile app or our website, pepco.com.