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Posted at 4:31 PM ET, 01/31/2011

Pepco outages: Are you anticipating more?

By Katie Rogers


Pepco's service map at 3 p.m. Jan 31.

As a new winter weather advisory in the area warns of icy conditions through Wednesday, a small number of local residents are still suffering after more than four days in the dark.

While not the only utility company tasked with restoring mass outages after last Wednesday's storm, Pepco's response -- or lack thereof -- remains in the spotlight. As of 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 31, the outage numbers have dwindled to about 82 Pepco customers without power, most of them in Montgomery County. Pepco had initially announced it would have power back up by 11 p.m. Jan. 28.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley voiced his concern on Twitter on Monday, posting a Jan. 29 letter he sent to Joseph Rigby, chairman of Pepco Holdings.

I agree that these power outages are unacceptable & must end. Here's the letter I sent to Pepco than a minute ago via TweetDeck

"Why can’t Pepco perform as its fellow utilities do? ... I am also outraged that your customer communication remains unacceptable; the outage map posted to your website crashed yet again, leaving customers seeking information about their outage in the dark."

Washington Post reporters say they'll update this blog with a response from Pepco once they receive one. But in the meantime, O'Malley isn't the only Twitter user continuing to sound off about the lags in response time -- the backlash had carried on continuously since the storm hit.

There is no such thing as bad publicity? Ha, just ask Pepco. They'll tell you differently.less than a minute ago via web

New winter storm alert 4 DC Metro tonite, but just got warm after powercut! Local auth+co's need advice: how to join the modern world #pepcoless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

#Pepco did my meter reading today..... (scratches head) First thing Thursday morning im checking that balance.... #thoserobbers!less than a minute ago via web

Other customers without power are venting via Youtube. User "smsantia" videotaped a fish "burial" after three days without power killed his aquarium:

Even as people take to the Web to air their grievances, Pepco representative Tosha O'Neal tweeted that crews would be going on the offensive in advance of Tuesday's anticipated winter weather:

We are monitoring the new storm expected Tuesday, and crews will be held over in anticipation of the storm.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

Whether or not customers believe this is a different story.

What's your Pepco outage story?

Are you anticipating another outage? How have you prepared -- and how have you been making do? What's on your outage survival list? Tell us below or by using #pepcolightsout on Twitter, and stay tuned to Capital Weather Gang for forecast updates.

By Katie Rogers  | January 31, 2011; 4:31 PM ET
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One thing needs to be looked at is did actions by local governments and property owners prevent PEPCO from trimming tree limbs back from power lines? If so, then the blame must be shared.

I am not defending in any stretch of the imagination PEPCO. I think that 29 hrs twice last year and most recently 18 hours without power stinks and there should be an investigation on what the heck is going on in PEPCO headquarters. But if something or someone prevented them from doing preventive maintenance on the system, then they need to be called to the carpet, too.

Posted by: joecct77 | January 31, 2011 11:43 PM | Report abuse

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