Officials from Pepco, the American Red Cross and the National Weather Service gather May 26 for a conference to discuss hurricane preparedness for the D.C. region. (Courtesy of Pepco)

Pepco, the American Red Cross and the National Weather Service conducted a joint briefing Friday regarding the D.C. region’s hurricane preparedness for the upcoming summer storm season.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted earlier this week an “above average hurricane season” that begins June 1 and lasts through November.

On behalf of Pepco officials, Donna Cooper, Pepco Region president, shared a few key points regarding the storm season:

• “Pepco is ready for storm season. We are more prepared than ever to respond to any restoration effort needed and our system is more resilient heading into the season.”

• “We installed and upgraded more than 1,000 miles of underground lines in D.C. and MD service territory to reduce outages and speed up restoration.”

• “Pepco’s 2,500 employees and contractors are ready to respond to customer needs, repair potential storm damage, and safely restore service as quickly as possible. As part of the Exelon family of companies, we can quickly secure additional resources locally and from our sister utilities at Delmarva Power, Atlantic City Electric, BGE, ComEd and PECO.”

Pete Pedersen, Pepco emergency management manager, added that Pepco employees are constantly working to improve how they coordinate with first responders and everyone affected.

“We prioritize our restoration efforts to focus first on life safety issues,” Pedersen said. “We must secure downed, energized wires as soon as we are able. Hospitals, nursing homes, 911 call centers and water treatment facilities top the list of restoration priorities. Second, we target our bulk power systems like substations. When we get a substation back up, we’re able to restore power to tens of thousands of customers. Next, we work to fix primary feeders that are down — this can restore an entire neighborhood.”

Rob Stewart, Smart Grid and New Technology manager, said Pepco is improving with new technology and innovation.

“That’s having a dramatic impact on our ability to identify outages and restore power at a faster rate,” Stewart said. “We’ve made significant improvements since joining the Exelon family of utilities in equipping our field workers with devices that share information digitally from the field. It’s an important way to streamline the flow of data and information between the crews and the control center.”

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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