Washington, D.C., October 29, 2012 — PEPCO is preparing for the ferocious winds and rains from massive Hurricane Sandy that likely will cause immense destruction, extreme flooding and millions of power outages throughout the mid-Atlantic and northeastern U.S.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has issued a federal emergency declaration for jurisdictions in the region. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray also have declared states of emergency, because of the expected unprecedented devastation.
All available utility crews east of the Rocky Mountains have been committed to the restoration effort on the Eastern seaboard. PHI, PEPCO’s parent’s company, has secured 1,563 line personnel from states as far away as Texas and Mississippi.
A number of outside line personnel have already arrived at PEPCO’s staging ground at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds. PHI is working to secure additional commitments as utilities release crews as the storm’s path becomes clear. Crews will be deployed based upon greatest damage and need.
In addition, PEPCO has nearly 600 internal and contract line personnel and 300 tree removal personnel on the system and ready for quick mobilization. Nearly 400 customer call representatives are available to answer calls, about 165 assessors are ready to identify storm damage, and around 635 support personnel are working on their special storm response roles.
Sandy is an agonizingly slow storm and is expected to produce high sustained winds over a prolonged period. OSHA regulations do not allow overhead work to be performed in sustained winds of 35 mph or more. As a result, the initiation of damage assessment and restoration work will depend on when the storm passes and winds subside. A thorough damage assessment is critical to deploying resources most effectively and efficiently.