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How reliable is Pepco in your neighborhood?

A recent Washington Post analysis of Pepco found that the power distribution company ranked at or near the bottom in keeping the power on and restoring it once it goes out. Pepco delivers electricity to 778,000 customers in the District and neighboring parts of Maryland.

By Ryan Kellett  |  December 4, 2010; 9:45 PM ET  | Category:  Local Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I moved from Silver Spring to Bethesda about a year ago. The reliability of my electric service has taken an unbelievable nose-dive. We are actually contemplating one of those expensive back-up generators, that's how bad it's gotten for us. My old neighborhood had lots of trees and so does my new one. So what gives?

Posted by: teamw23 | December 4, 2010 11:44 PM

We lose power for anywhere from 2-36 hours every time a thunderstorm with wind gusts of about 40 mph (not an uncommon occurrence here - 5 times this past summer) blows through. Since we have a baby in the house now, I had to break down and spend over $800 on a gas generator and extension cords, and sometimes have to take off of work if a storm is coming to make sure I am home to start up the generator. We have friends from third world countries who say that PEPCO helps remind them of home.

Posted by: vtavgjoe | December 5, 2010 12:25 AM

We lost power this summer, but only for a day or so. This past winter we did quite well, never losing power once.

We live in an urban forest and sometimes things happen to trees that aren't controllable.

Homeowners should do their part by maintaining the trees in their yards, particularly those near power lines. Tree service is much more affordable when you aren't having a crisis.

I rated our power as "somewhat reliable." I would support more aggressive trimming of trees along power lines if that would improve things. It's no good to lose a refrigerator full of food.

Posted by: RedBird27 | December 5, 2010 7:56 AM

We live in Wheaton in a wooded neighborhood, but our biggest frustrations are when the power goes out on a beautiful day with no wind and no trees down. Just 2 or 3 weeks ago, we lost power for about 6 hours for no reason. According to Pepco's web site, only 140 houses in Montgomery County lost power that day, which is about the number of houses in our neighborhood. We called and called and never got an explanation.

My other complaint is that they seem to put Silver Spring and Wheaton dead last when they are restoring power. During the terrible thunderstorm in August, our power was out for 3 days. By the time we got power again, everyone else that I know outside my neighborhood had been restored for at least a day. And that one was clearly tree-related.

Silver Spring and Wheaton are densely populated, so why wouldn't they want to restore power to more people at one time?

Posted by: bnh123 | December 5, 2010 9:24 AM

I live in an Upper Marlboro neighborhood bounded by Woodyard Rd and Rosaryville Rd. In this neighborhood it seems that whenever there is wind, heavy snow or rain we lose power. The extended loss of power occurred so frequently that I was forced to spend thousands of dollars on a backup generator.

Posted by: CharlesNewsomeSR | December 5, 2010 10:54 AM

We moved into our home in Upper Marlboro seven years ago and after Hurricane Isabel our power was out for almost a week. We lost all of our food and our basement flooded. So at that time I made the expensvie investment into a 16K Guardian standby Generator by Generac Power Systems. It was the best investment in my home that I have ever made.

Our coverage area averages at least four extended power outtages per year so since I have my Guardian, when the power goes out within 30 seconds, power is restored to the essential areas of my home and we contiune our life as usual. Let me be clear this is not a plug for Generac but a recommendation to get a standby generator and protect your home and family from expensive power outtages. There are several different brands such as Koler and Centurian, they are basically the same and will do the job. Just get a unit that is big enought to generate enough power KW (Kilowatts) to protect the essential areas of your home.

The initial upfront cost seems expensive but also keep in mind that a flooded basement because your sump pump has no power to it will cost you more money and grief in the long run than investing in one of these units.

Since the installation of my unit we have had probably twenty power outtages in seven years. My initial investment has more than paid for itself and when severe weather is in the forecast we don't worry one bit because I know we will have power. My kids will still have their Playstation 3 working and my wife will have TV and internet.

I would not rely on Pepco because of their past track record and there may be circumstances that are beyond their control such as another Hurricane or heaven forbid a terrorist attack on the power grid.

Posted by: 70chiponwhite | December 5, 2010 11:04 AM

This summer we had a period where we were without power for 5 full days out of 20. Pepco is terrible... and charges top dollar. Where are our government regulatory bodies? Natural monopolies will gouge like crazy unless the government holds them in check.

Posted by: ubermunch | December 5, 2010 11:23 AM

A power surge in our neighborhood nearly started a couple of electrical fires last month -- red hot wires in the fuse boxes burning off insulation with white smoke. Pepco denied responsibility but still had to shut a few households off of the grid while they worked on the transformers. My neighbors who were shut off were without power for three days.

Posted by: EastCapESF | December 5, 2010 12:44 PM

In North Bethesda, we've been without power for over 9 full days in 2010. That counts both mega-outages (February and July) and a series of smaller ones. To put it in perspective - 9 days is more than double the time I spent without power in my previous 50 years - and that counts all three New York City blackouts (1965, 1977, 2003).

So when does the Maryland Public Service Commission move to life Pepco's license and get us a reliable power provider? Note to Maryland legislators and policymakers - right now, I'm planning to move out of the state, for no reason other than Pepco's (lack of) reliablity.

It's way past time someone acted here on behalf of public need.

Posted by: Alan_A | December 5, 2010 2:57 PM

Sorry, that should be "lift" Pepco's license, not "life" it.

Posted by: Alan_A | December 5, 2010 2:58 PM

We lost power for ten days in total last year. Pepco has yet to trim the trees in the neighborhood and I suspect we're in for more of the same this Winter.

Luckily we wised up as have most of our neighbors- we bought generators.

Shame on Pepco and the politicians who enable them. But let's not blame just them- we should note that the Post did it's part too. It overwhelmingly endorsed the policiticans who let this happen and has yet to provide an unbiased, in depth analysis of Pepco, their political and monetary relationships and the problems we consumers face.

Posted by: nolongersubscrtibe | December 9, 2010 12:32 PM

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