Pepco line worker trainees perform a demonstration of underground utility repairs at the Nov. 29 Winter Readiness news conference. (Courtesy of Pepco)
Pepco line worker trainees perform a demonstration of underground utility repairs at the Nov. 29 Winter Readiness news conference. (Courtesy of Pepco)

Pepco has taken essential steps to provide customers with safe and reliable electric service this winter with more than $628 million the utility has earmarked to modernize the local energy grid, perform maintenance and inspections, and enhance existing infrastructure.

“Each day work is being performed to further enhance reliability for our valued customers and harden our system against severe weather,” said Donna Cooper, Pepco region president. “Our preparation efforts are central to being ready to respond safely and quickly when customers need us this winter and throughout the year. It’s this seasonal preparation, as well as year-round investments in the reliability and resiliency of our system, that have helped us deliver the most reliable service in the company’s history in recent years. While we have made significant progress, our work continues.”

Preparation on the local grid includes inspecting and upgrading equipment; trimming trees, which cause about 40 percent of power outages; building new underground equipment; and installing stronger, tree-resistant aerial cable.

Pepco also continues to install smart technology that can automatically identify the location of damage, restore service more quickly, or isolate damage. Ongoing investments in the local energy grid have resulted in a 37 percent decrease in the District and a 49 percent decrease in Maryland in the frequency of outages for customers over the past five years.

Just as Pepco prepares, customers should also prepare and are advised to:

• Assemble an emergency storm kit. Include battery-powered radio or TV, flashlight, a first-aid kit, battery-powered or windup clock, extra batteries, special needs items, medications, multi-purpose tool, cellphones with chargers, and list of important and emergency phone numbers.
• Apply insulation, caulking, and weather stripping around your home to keep out the cold.
• Have a supply of bottled water and easy-to-prepare, non-perishable foods available.
• Keep a flashlight with fresh batteries on each floor of your home.
• Identify an alternate location for you and/or your family in case of extended outage.
• Review the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operations of your generator. Do not connect a generator directly to your home’s wiring. Never use a generator indoors or any enclosed area.
• Download Pepco’s app at to keep informed during a storm.

Pepco’s preparation efforts also include conducting emergency response drills, testing computer and emergency systems, reviewing emergency processes and procedures, and coordinating closely with government and community partners.

Immediately report a downed wire or service issue by calling 1-877-PEPCO-62 (1-877-737-2662), visiting, or through the company’s mobile app.

More tips, resources and safety information are available at

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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