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Pepco Says It's Ready, But Lengthy Outages Still Likely

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Pepco says its hired more outside crews for Hurricane Irene than for any other storm.
Matthew Bush
Pepco says its hired more outside crews for Hurricane Irene than for any other storm.

Despite it's woeful track record, Pepco says it is ready for Hurricane Irene.

Last summer, all it took were thunderstorms to knock out power to Pepco customers for nearly a week. Since then, the company has embarked on a much-publicized campaign to upgrade its reliability.

Hurricane Irene will be the first test of those improvements, according to says Joe Rigby, president of Pepco's parent company.

"I'd be very concerned standing in front of you right now if we hadn't embarked on that, given what I think we're facing," says Rigby. "So I anticipate that we will have less damage than what we otherwise would have had."

One change from last year is that Pepco asked for outside help on Tuesday in anticipation of Hurricane Irene.

Still, Rigby adds the storm is strong enough to cause lengthy outages, because bucket trucks can not start restoring power until winds have died down under 35 mph.

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