Pepco is contacting individual customers who need power for critical medical equipment, urging them to review their emergency plans and prepare for the possibility that they could be subject to extended power outages as a result of Hurricane Irene.
The hurricane is expected to hit the Mid-Atlantic Region this weekend and the utility is preparing for the possibility of a widespread, multi-day restoration effort.
Pepco today is reaching out to customers who have registered with the company as needing electricity for critical medical equipment, to power life-support equipment, for example. Customers are being contacted through Pepco's automated messaging system and are being urged to review their plans, check supplies and take appropriate action to ensure their safety and well being.
"Irene is a large and powerful Hurricane and we need our customers to know in advance that it could result in extended power outages," said Thomas H. Graham, Pepco Region President. "We understand that they need to plan their lives during emergencies and we want to help as best we can."
The utility continues to monitor the progress of Irene up the Eastern Seaboard. It could strike the service territory starting Saturday. Weather services are predicting that the region will be hit by flooding rain and damaging winds over a prolonged period into Sunday, which could cause
widespread and extended power outages.
Pepco continues to participate on Mid-Atlantic Mutual Assistance and Southeastern Electric Exchange conference calls with other utilities to request additional field crew assistance.
Pepco's line crews will work extended hours and the company has alerted additional staff to provide support services, including ramping up the Call Center to provide 24-hour coverage beginning on Friday, August 26.
The company also continues to be in contact with state and local emergency management agencies to ensure a coordinated community response. After severe storms, assessing damage and estimating when customers will be restored could take up to 24 hours after the heart of the storm has moved from the area. Crews are deployed to restore service only when weather conditions become safe.
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 or to a hospital 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.
· 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.
Call 1-877-PEPCO-62 (1-877-737-2662) and press "2" to report a downed wire.
To report an outage, call 1-877-PEPCO-62 (1-877-737-2662) and press "1" for the automated system.
Additional information may be found at www.pepco.com.