Washington, D.C., March 28, 2012 – On March 21, the Edison Electric Institute presented Pepco Holdings, Inc. with the Emergency Recovery Award for exemplary effort restoring power following Hurricane Irene in August 2011.
The award recognized all three PHI utility companies: Atlantic City Electric, Delmarva Power and Pepco. Irene inflicted widespread damage to PHI’s electric system, causing nearly a half-million customers to lose power in the utilities’ service territories.
“Over the past year, PHI and its utilities have made significant investments to improve reliability, restoration and customer service,” said Joseph M. Rigby, PHI chairman, president and CEO. “These improvements were tested when Hurricane Irene swept through our service area with winds as strong as 70 miles per hour and up to 11 inches of total rainfall. Power was restored to 98 percent of our customers in little more than two days. This effort required mobilizing nearly 3,000 internal and external personnel and effectively executing our recently updated restoration plan. We are pleased to receive this industry recognition for our achievement and I am proud of the hard work by all employees during the restoration that made receiving this award possible.”
In 2011, the company launched a special emergency restoration improvement program that included more than doubling the number of telephone trunk lines to its Washington, D.C., region call center; developing mobile applications for customers to report and track outages; and upgrading each utility’s website to enhance emergency communications with customers.
Other changes implemented to enhance storm performance included setting up regional storm centers for more efficient crew dispatch; improving the estimated time of restoration process; leveraging technology and outside contractors to conduct real-time damage assessment from the field; augmenting our emergency response personnel; and establishing a backup crisis call center.
In 2011, PHI invested nearly $900 million in transmission and distribution infrastructure and advanced technology to improve reliability and customer service. Over the next five years, the company plans to invest $5.6 billion in its power delivery business to further enhance system reliability and meet customer service expectations.
The company already is seeing the reliability investments produce results on power lines and other electrical equipment worked on over the past year. For example, from December 2010 through December 2011, customers served by upgraded power lines saw a 39 percent reduction in the average number of power outages and when outages did occur, they did not last as long, with the average outage duration declining by 56 percent.
These tangible improvements in reliability in areas where the company has performed work are translating into a better overall customer experience and customers’ level of satisfaction is gradually improving.
The Emergency Recovery Award was presented during a luncheon at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, D.C., held in conjunction with EEI’s annual CEO Conference and Board Meeting. The panel of judges was comprised of former chairmen of EEI, an association of U.S. shareholder-owned electric companies that represents about 70 percent of the nation’s electric power industry.