Pepco Power Outage Hits 280,000 Due to Heavy Storms

By Helena Zhu
Helena Zhu
Helena Zhu
July 26, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

Power lines run past the smoke stacks at American Electric Power's (AEP) Mountaineer coal power plant in New Haven, West Virginia, October 30, 2009.  (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
Power lines run past the smoke stacks at American Electric Power's (AEP) Mountaineer coal power plant in New Haven, West Virginia, October 30, 2009. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
A Pepco power outage caused more almost 280,000 customers of the electric service provider to lose power, as fast-moving thunderstorms with winds exceeding 60 mph tore through the Washington Metro Area on Sunday.

Pepco saw about 200,000 customers lost electricity in Montgomery Country, 49,000 in Prince George’s County, and 28,000 in D.C., according to a press release issued by the company.

The storms tipped numerous trees onto power lines and blew debris onto the lines, causing significant damage to Pepco’s electric system.

The company says that it has added crew members to restore power, which is expected to take a few days. The full extent of the damage is still being assessed.

“When our system is damaged by severe weather, Pepco repairs equipment using a system of priorities that has been developed taking into account public safety, community needs and the nature of the electric system,” said the press release.

“We work first to correct potentially life-threatening situations such as downed wires and public health and safety facilities without power. We then work downstream, beginning with any problems related to the transmission or large distribution lines and focus on restoring power in a sequence that gets service to the greatest number of customers as quickly as possible.”

With many fallen energized power lines, Pepco suggested that residents should not touch or get close to the lines. Customers at home should turn off major appliances to avoid a circuit overload, while leaving one on to know if power has been restored. Residents with special needs, including those who use medical equipment, should start carrying out their emergency plans.

Pepco encourages customers to report power outage and fallen power lines to 1-877-PEPCO62 (1-877-737-2662) to help the company prepare and plan its restoration efforts. The call center can handle up to 100,000 calls per hour.

Helena Zhu
Helena Zhu