Pepco outages were down in 2011, but it's not clear whether or not the relatively mild weather was the cause.
Pepco says the number of outages in its system dropped by almost 40 percent last year. It's a far cry from the poor service standards that marred the company the year before.
The much-maligned utility says customers in 2011 saw a 39 percent drop in outages from the previous year, and that the length of those outages was cut by 56 percent. After weeklong delays plagued Pepco customers following thunderstorms in 2010, the utility embarked on a wide-ranging plan to upgrade its service reliability.
Frequent Pepco critic and Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner says that while these new numbers show Pepco is pointed in the right direction, the utility still has a long way to go: "We've been spared with the weather this past year, so we really don't know how resilient the system is."
Berliner notes that in 2010, Pepco ranked in the bottom quartile nationally when it came to the frequency of outages in its system. Berliner also says many residents in the county feel the utility's tree-trimming program has been too aggressive. He is the co-sponsor of a bill currently being debated that would make clear the rights private land owners have when PEPCO wants to cut a tree on their property.