PEPCO works to restore extensive power outages in storm devastated DC area

By Dorothy Davis 

Following almost two solid weeks of near record breaking summer temperatures a cold front moved through the Washington D.C. and neighboring Maryland county areas this weekend causing severe thunderstorms that resulted in wide spread power outages, hundreds of fallen trees, property damage, and four deaths. 

Regional utility Pepco was the most severely impacted reporting significant damage to its electric system due to the storm’s heavy winds gusting at over 60mph. Downed trees and flying debris battered power lines and stations leading to the loss of services this weekend for more than 270,000 Pepco consumers including the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission’s (WSSC) Potomac Water Filtration plant which supplies nearly 1.8 million people in suburban Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland.

Pepco was quick to respond to the sudden disaster and institute its standard emergency procedures by requesting additional crews, extending shifts, providing interactive updates on their website, and directing customers to report outages insatntly through their hotline which can manage as many as 100,000 calls per hour. Although the utility’s efforts have been timely and extensive because the full scope of damages is still being assessed Pepco has been unable to supply a definitive outline for when full restoration of power is expected.

As of today Pepco has been able to restore power to nearly 106,000 customers including service to the WSSC Potomac Water Filtration plant, however, mandatory restrictions on water use for both residential and commercial customers will remain in place until water storage levels are replenished. 

Nearby utility power suppliers Baltimore Gas & Electric (BG&E) and Dominion Virginia Power also reported power losses this weekend with BG&E outages capping at 112,000 and Dominion Virginia Power's at 94,000. Both have been engaged in expansive restoration efforts of their own and as of today have restored power to more than three quarters of those who were effected. Both utility companies have released statements outlining that most if not all power is expected to be restored to their respective areas by Tuesday.

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