Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pepco Storm Quick Facts

Reporting an Outage and the Restoration Process - Emergency Phone Numbers

If your power goes out, check to see if your neighbors have power. If your home is the only one without power, check your circuit breakers or fuses to determine if the outage is a result of a household problem. Do not assume we automatically know about your outage. Please contact us immediately.

Report outages:
1-877-PEPCO-62 (1-877-737-2662)

Report downed wires and life-threatening emergencies:

1-877-Pepco-62 (1-877-737-2662) and press two.

TTY: 202-872-2369

Outage maps and restoration updates can be accessed online at www.pepco.com. Click on the Your Home tab and select the Outages the Emergency Preparedness page.

Important Safety Tips

If you see a downed power line, stay away from it. Assume that all downed power lines are live and extremely dangerous. Don’t touch any person or object that is in contact with a power line; the current could flow through you. Immediately call the emergency service number at 1-877-Pepco-62 (1-877-737-2662) and press two to report downed wires. Call 911 only if there is an associated emergency such as a fire, automobile accident or, if medical assistance is required. Also:

·        Never attempt to remove trees or limbs from any utility line. Assume all objects touching a power line are energized.

·        If you use a portable generator during a power outage, always operate it according to the manufacturer’s directions, outside and away from doors and windows to avoid deadly carbon monoxide.

·        If you have a flooded basement in your home, never attempt to turn off power or operate circuit breakers while standing in water.

How We Restore Power

Our damage assessment and restoration process begins once the storm has passed and it’s safe for our personnel to proceed with gathering information and determining the extent of the damage in the affected areas. Your telephone call reporting an outage is vital because it will be combined with other customers’ calls and computer programs will analyze that information to make a prediction as to what lines or other equipment may be out of service. This helps our line crews find the locations of the outages more quickly.

We then proceed using a system of priorities that have been developed taking into account public safety, community needs and the nature of the electric distribution system.

In the event our system is damaged by severe weather, Pepco focuses on restoring power in a sequence that enables power restoration to public health and safety facilities and to the greatest number of customers as quickly as possible. The typical sequence, many of which occur simultaneously, is as follows:

1.        Downed live wires or potentially life-threatening situations and public health and safety facilities without power.

2.        Transmission lines serving thousands of customers.

3.        Substation equipment.

4.        Main distribution lines serving large numbers of customers.

5.        Secondary lines serving neighborhoods.

6.        Service lines to individual homes and businesses.

Outages and Emergency Preparedness
Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my neighbor have power but I don’t?

Sometimes, you may notice your neighbor’s lights come back on while you are still without power. There may be several explanations – it may be that your neighbors are on a different supply line or there may be trouble just on the section of the line supplying your immediate area. The cause of the outage may be isolated to one fuse, one transformer or a group of transformers, or the problem may be on the service line connected to your residence. If all of your surrounding neighbors’ lights are on and you are still without power, check your breaker box for a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse. If that does not appear to be the case, please call us to report your outage using the outage reporting number 1-877- Pepco-62 (1-877-737-2662).

Why is Pepco often unable to give out exact restoration times?

We continually work to improve upon our ability to provide restoration times to customers. Several considerations come into play when estimating restoration times. One important factor, particularly after a large storm, is completion of our damage assessment. Until the assessment is done, it is hard to provide a restoration time, especially in cases where we have sustained massive numbers of outages. Other factors include weather, accessibility to damaged areas, coordination with other agencies working on the storm restoration such as public works, tree removal, and changing public safety and health priorities, all of which may affect our estimates. We do everything we can to provide an estimate of restoration time as soon as it reasonably can be done. Even then, it is possible that estimates may change during the course of restoration as field crews arrive on the scene.

When you call us to report a power outage, we provide an estimate for restoration based on current reported field conditions and predictions from our automated Outage Management System (OMS).

When a repair crew arrives on the scene, they may discover additional or more complex problems that require additional time, equipment or crews. They will update the restoration time estimate and we will reflect those changes when you call again to check on the status of the restoration.

In recent months we have made many improvements to help us provide better estimates and more information, including upgrades to our Outage Management System (OMS), improved wires-down, damage assessment and crew management processes, additional cross training for employees who will assist customers during emergency situations, and outage maps displayed in our “Storm Center”. We’ve also added additional customer service representatives and doubled customer service and emergency phone and voicemail capacities.

Why do Pepco crews sometimes leave my neighborhood before power is restored?

Crews working near your home - even across the street - may be fixing a feeder that does not serve your home or may be securing downed wires for follow-up by repair crews. Or, there could be more than one location on the power line that is damaged. If you see our crews leaving your area without restoring power, another area may need to be repaired to activate your line or they may need specialized equipment to finish repairs. Also, in severe storms with widespread damage, we may need to physically assess damage before restoration begins. If you see a truck leave your neighborhood before your power goes back on, please rest assured that we are not ignoring your problem.

Why is it that when a crew responds to my report of a wire down at my home or neighborhood, they are “standing by” or not working to get my lights back on?

Public safety is our number one priority and when we receive a report of a wire down, we will dispatch the closest available line crew to respond. However, in the event of storms where we have massive outages, we may first send other Pepco personnel to: 1) relieve fire services or police personnel until a line crew can arrive, 2) stand by to make sure the area is safe to the public until a line crew can arrive, or 3) if the wire is not Pepco's, identify it as cable TV, telephone, or other telecommunications wire.

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