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Posted at 6:54 PM ET, 01/27/2011

When will Pepco learn?

By Laurie Neff, Chevy Chase

One would have thought that after being pilloried by The Post and (supposedly) being put under the microscope by the Maryland Public Service Commission, Pepco might have cleaned up its act. I got a continuous busy signal on the emergency line during the storm when I tried to alert Pepco to a downed wire lying across my car. While I eventually reached Pepco through other means, I guess it is determined not to provide, or is too incompetent to provide, the electricity service for which it is handsomely paid.

By Laurie Neff, Chevy Chase  | January 27, 2011; 6:54 PM ET
Categories:  DMV, energy, housing, weather  
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Next: Take Obama's advice, Pepco: Bury power lines


How can there be no comments here? Please publicize this blog and these Pepco posts. There are so few outlets to put pressure on the Pepco monopoly. Their incompetence and uncaring attitude toward their customers is appalling. To allow elderly and infants as well as everyone else to suffer thru multi-day power and heat outages in the dead of winter is unconscionable. To delay bringing in crews to help is callous. To refuse to answer calls and to pull down their outage map so it's "temporarily unavailable" is arrogant. Pepco pays their shareholders and raises rates so customers can get hit from all sides -- taking the hurt not just when Pepco doesn't deliver but even when it does.

Posted by: SSFSCoWA | January 28, 2011 8:35 AM | Report abuse

It is unbelievable that this is happening again. After we suffered through days of sweltering summer heat with no A/C or fridge, we see that Pepco is just as inept as ever. Who has the consumers' backs here? PSC? Van Hollen? O'Malley? Ike? WHERE ARE YOU?!?!?!

Posted by: getjiggly1 | January 28, 2011 10:19 AM | Report abuse

The article in today's Post, "In storm, Pepco last to seek aid" sums it up. Michael Maxwell, Pepco VP overseeing the crew calls outs is quoted as saying "I know some people may try to make something of the time differences, but they shouldn't". Read the full article and the ARROGANCE of this comment will hit you. They have proven over and over they are not capable of the job. Not to mention the cost of food thrown away, hotel stays, etc. for those who are forced out of their homes. Montgomery County needs to put our electrical service out for bid and get rid of Pepco. Pepco ranks near the bottom nationally in keeping power on and bringing the lights back on once they go out. We are paying for a service they are not providing. WE NEED TO GET RID OF THEM NOW! I'M SICK OF HEARING THE PROMISES. I HAVEN'T SEEN ANY RESULTS.

Posted by: photogrl1 | January 28, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

How can there be no comments here? Please publicize this blog and these Pepco posts.

Posted by: SSFSCoWA

Probably there are no comments because of the lack of power.. ;>)

When we heard that the roof collapsed on a PEPCO substation, I commented to my neighbors that PEPCO must not have read the Three Pigs story and built their roof out of straw.

Posted by: ilikepeas | January 28, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

They should be held accountable this time. How can Pepco arguably do worse than the lst outage? How could they not anticipate this? And not protecting a substation sounds par for the course. Thanks, stay on top of them.

Posted by: c128 | January 28, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

It is bad enough that the outage goes on for days in the dead of winter but not to even answer the phone to give any kind of information on the outage is reprehensible. I agree we need a new provider of electrically services. There simply is no accountability. If we can't make the electric company accountable we must make our local governement representatives accountable.

Posted by: Neutro | January 28, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

PEPCO's performance is a real shame. If the reliability performance of electric companies in Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Utah, etc, were like PEPCO's, then everyone living in those states will by now living in Florida and California. But the worst of all are our politicians who have allowed this company to deteriorate to this level. And still allowing for their excuses. I think it is time for an ultimatum: Provide reliable service comparable to other competent electric utilities or sell your assets and get out
of the way. We are sick and tired living under "third-world" conditions and continued hypocrisy.

Posted by: goutsias | January 28, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Yes, if their services can be bid out to someone else I'd say the process should begin immediately.

Posted by: c128 | January 28, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

It is 5 p.m. on Friday - 48 hours since the power went out. I live in Sumner in Bethesda - absolutely not one house has power and not a single Pepco truck has been seen - only a safety inspector who has roped off the dangerous wires with plastic police tape - and he showed up 24 hours after the emergency-
Pepco also took their outage map down from their website - is it becuase they dont want anyone to see how seriously behind they are? Can we dedcuct the cost of the hotel rooms, the dog kennel and the dead plants and the refrigerator full of food from our next bill?

Posted by: kkeane1 | January 28, 2011 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I have a very simple solution to Pepco's persistent "utility" like attitude. The PUC needs to start imposing heavy fines based on how long it takes them to restore power. In addition, a homeowner or business, would receive 1 day credit on their electrical bill for every hour without power. Watch how fast they get their act together.
The problem is the inadequate and aging transmission system that has gone way too long without major upgrades. The PUC is also to blame for this. Remember the exploding man hole covers in Georgetown???
Pepco was forced to rebuild the electrical infrastructure. One more idea. For those of us who had no power for 2 days or more during last years blizzard over Superbowl weekend, I purchased a generator so I would always have heat. I would like Pepco to reimburse me for the cost of the generator and numerous extension cords.


The NYC area has been hit much harder than us with snow this winter and guess what - NO MAJOR WIDESPREAD OUTAGES!!

I wonder why that is........?

Posted by: patlm13 | January 28, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

FIRE PEPCO. We think that PEPCO is a monopoly. In fact it is a public for- profit company with contracts to provide service. They can, and should, be fired. Bring in another company willing to spend the money to bury our power lines and otherwise bring us into the first world. To bad - so sad for the investors - they backed a turkey,I have backed many over the past years and we all loose - why are these peopele sacred? FIRE PEPCO - they have failed. PS: I wonder how much cable could be buried for every self-serving TV ad they run? I'd love to buy a bumper sticker if anyone cares to print them "Fire Pepco"

Posted by: ensvegas | January 28, 2011 7:56 PM | Report abuse

My power was restored after about 24 hours and tonight it is out again. I called the outage number and they weren't even aware of this. The "customer care representative" asked, "Have you checked your circuit breakers?"

Seriously! I am not making this up!!!

The entire neighborhood -- Forest Glen Metro to Seminary Road -- dark.

Circuit breakers? Seriously???

Posted by: gwynn898 | January 28, 2011 9:45 PM | Report abuse

This situation calls out for a legislative solution!!! So....Chris Van Hollen (US Congress), Delegates Tom Hucker, Brian Feldman, Ben Kramer (MoCo Delegates on committee that oversees utilities), and Sen.Rob Garagiola (MoCo Senator on oversight committee)--lets get going! File bills that require PEPCO to reimburse those who have no power after 24 hours giving them 1 day average credit for each HOUR over 24 hours they have no power.
I am on night number 3 of dark and cold with no PEPCO trucks in sight. Ridiculous! So, get the bill filed you all!

Posted by: JohnHursonChevyChase | January 28, 2011 10:05 PM | Report abuse

so far 3 days without POWER- the 4th time this year
thsi one takes the cake told there was downed tree but they woulndt pick it up until sunday
saw pepco truck 3 doors down cashed after it asking if they would pick up tree REFUSED
sister on oxygen they dont care why doenst anyone do anythign about thiS incompetent company TOLD THAT POWER WONT EVEN BEGIN TO GO ON UNTIL SUNDAY AT 11PM -6 DAYS ! NO FOOD NO PHONE NO HEAT AND THEY DONT CARE SEE NO PEPCO TRUCKS ANYWHERE

Posted by: clearygps | January 28, 2011 11:18 PM | Report abuse

I am very upset
being told no power until Sunday night
this would never happen in nyc
why are our senators govenor and congressman allowing this
it rains the power goes out

but in this cold and snow its basically murder
people will die 6 days without power and the money of food in the
congressman still must be called to get on record our OUTRAGE

Posted by: clearygps | January 28, 2011 11:47 PM | Report abuse

I am very upset
being told no power until Sunday night
this would never happen in nyc
why are our senators govenor and congressman allowing this
it rains the power goes out

but in this cold and snow its basically murder
people will die 6 days without power and the money of food in the
congressman still must be called to get on record our OUTRAGE

Posted by: clearygps | January 28, 2011 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Each time we called Pepco they provided conflicting information about progress in restoring power to our home and neighborhood. We received an automated call saying crews were in our neighborhood and our power was restored. We left our hotel to find no crews, no power to our home, and no progress in fixing extensive outages in our neighborhood. Pepco is incompetent, dishonest, and greedy, and the fact that the utility commission and local politicians do not force them to improve is an indication that Montgomery County, PG, and DC have representatives who are either corrupt or incompetent as well. Hopefully some day we will hold both accountable.

Posted by: rdwex | January 29, 2011 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Living in Bethesda, paying a huge mortgage, and the power goes out for days at a time over and over again. As I write tHis we still have no power. Living in a hotel room and have dog at the kennel. I am up to $1000 in expenses and rising. Same thing happened last year. I love living here but no way I could ever retire here. It is actually too dangerous to live without power in the middle of the winter. Why has the government allowed this farce to continue?

Posted by: Asskicker | January 29, 2011 10:12 AM | Report abuse

With all do respect to everyone's comment! I am a line mechanic with an area utility. We are out here busting our behinds too get everyone's power back on and even at my own home I have no power! The power lines and poles are not made out of legos! You just don't snap them back together. We have families just like everyone else, electricity is very dangerous! If we don't do this safely, one or many of us can get killed. Then after the sad misfortune of one of us dieing, we are totally forgotten about! Get my power on now and I don't care about the men that's doing it just get it back on now!

Posted by: rolodre | January 29, 2011 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I am a very very frustrated Pepco customer. My townhouse complex in North Bethesda has lacked power for 15 days this past year: 5 days during one of the snow storm last year, 5 days again during the summer thunderstorms and there have been AT LEAST 5 more days where we've lost power for entire days for absolutely no reason at all. This is not even counting the 10-15 other times when I've come home to blinking clocks with the wrong times.

I work from home and have lost three freaking weeks of productivity this year!!!!!! We've thrown hundreds of dollars worth of food, slept in hotels, friend's houses and our own icy cold house. I've never received any outreach from Pepco, and my interactions with them on the phone have produced little improvement. Each time I call, I get bullshit talking points from them, no accurate information, sometimes totally misleading information or better still, no response at all.

I am thinking of organizing a demonstration outside their building, or else outside their president's house. He had the nerve to go on TV and say that this is better than it was last time and that there are no glitches in their response to this new storm. Really? Ask us. We have just gone through a repeat experience as last time. This is their new and improved plan!

My community will soon be getting together to evaluate some hard-core options: suing them, demonstrating outside their office and bringing them bad publicity, basically doing anything to make them as miserable as they have made us as a means to get performance improvement. Please email me at if you want to join our efforts.

Posted by: shareenjoshi | January 29, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

It is early Sunday am and still no power. I live in chevy chase MD . First they promised power back by Friday at 11pm. Then Saturday at 4 pm. Now Sunday at 11 pm. This is beyond disgraceful. The top brass at Pepco should all be fired over this ineptitude.

Posted by: jbcjd | January 30, 2011 1:38 AM | Report abuse

Another thought from a frustrated customer--let's all deposit our spoiled food on the steps of Pepco's offices.

Posted by: jbcjd | January 30, 2011 4:17 AM | Report abuse

People NEED TO MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS WHEN IT COMES TO TRAVELING IN INCLIMATE WEATHER. It is not the government's responsibility or any employer's responsibility to make decisions concerning your life and your safety in traveling under such horrendous weather conditions when every media entity usually makes advance weather predictions which should be seriously assessed when deciding whether to go to work or when it is best for you to leave work to get home safely and timely. I know after these 9 - 13 hour traffic/snow ordeals these people should wake up and plan better for themselves and their families in the future. WHERE IS PLAIN COMMONSENSE FOLKS!!! The forecast was for five to eleven inches of snow -- cars are not made to drive in high piles of snow or has no one told you guys that!!!!!

Posted by: hotezzy | January 30, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I am from South Africa, immigrated to Maine 5 years ago. In my life I have NEVER experienced power outages like I have here in Silver Spring, 12 miles from the Capitol building, the nation's capital. In Maine, every year we'd have storms like you cannot believe. Feet of snow, not inches. Power out: three times, never more than 18 hours at a time, in five years. In seven months since moving to Silver Spring, every time the wind blows, power gone. Every time it rains, power gone. Snow, the schools close, the power is out. Never less than 24 hours power out. Twelve miles from the nations capital, the most advanced nation in the world, a superpower. Pepco, you should be ashamed.

Posted by: duncombe | January 30, 2011 6:06 PM | Report abuse

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