by Marlene Berlin
As I have mentioned in past articles, Pepco has been upgrading our feeder lines with new equipment and poles, and doing a drastic tree pruning job in Forest Hills, in an effort to make our power more reliable.
And then on April 10th, my computer screen went dark, and so did all other signs that electric power was still flowing through my house. I called Pepco to report the outage and find out what happened. I did reach a live person who told me I was the first to report the outage, and she had no other information. I then called my neighbors, the Elfins, to see about their power. Theirs was out as well. And other neighbors down my block on Albemarle were also without power. I decided that this would be a good time to take a break and go for my walk. By the time I got home, the power was back on.
The next day I decided to find out what caused the outage. I emailed my Pepco contact Marcus Beal, the manager of media relations, but he could not tell me much: There had been a malfunction and it had been fixed. When I pressed for more information, he could not provide it.
I am sure you know me well enough by now to know I was not going to stop there.
I contacted Dee Smith in Council member Mary Cheh’s office. She told me to contact Chris Taylor, Pepco’s public affairs manager for the DC region. He gave me the same response as Marcus, but told me he would dig a little deeper. I did not hear back from him after a few days so I bugged him again, only to learn he was out of the office for about two weeks. I had it in my datebook to get back in touch last Friday.
On Thursday, I got an email from him informing me that he had been away getting married (congratulations!), and he gave me the scoop on the outage:
“The outage on 4/10 impacted approximately 245 customers, starting at 1:05 p.m. with power restored at 2:58 pm. This outage was related to a fault in a manhole on a separate feeder. Crews were able to sectionalize the fault and restore power. The cause of the outage was a cable fault near the intersection of Van Ness and Wisconsin Ave. Additional field inspections occurred thereafter, but additional corrective action was not identified.”
I was relieved that the malfunction was not in our new equipment. Also, our power stayed on during last week’s storm.
Chris, thank you for going the extra mile. And again, congratulations!