Pepco Enjoys A Bright Moment After Hurricane Sandy | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

Pepco Enjoys A Bright Moment After Hurricane Sandy

Play associated audio

Jeff Stomel, 26, of Washington, loads his car with bottled water in an alley between U Street and Willard Street NW, where tree branches fell on cable lines and a car during Hurricane Sandy, in Washington, on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012.
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Jeff Stomel, 26, of Washington, loads his car with bottled water in an alley between U Street and Willard Street NW, where tree branches fell on cable lines and a car during Hurricane Sandy, in Washington, on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012.

Few were under as much pressure to perform well during this week's storm as was Pepco, which in the past has struggled to return power to thousands following simple thunderstorms.

But there haven't been many problems with widespread Pepco outages in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which did not hit the D.C. region as hard as was initially forecast. 

Criticism of the utility is the harshest in Maryland's Montgomery County, where many residents went without power for several days in June after the power "derecho" storm.

So was Pepco good — or lucky? D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray didn't "know what they could have done better," he said yesterday. And Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett said Pepco was good, particularly for acquiring outside help quickly.

Pepco's struggles the past two years have been well-documented, but after the derecho this summer, it seemed that hope that the utility would improve was evaporating. 

"They had sufficient warning this time, therefore they were able to bring in those assets early enough. So I want to give them credit where credit is due," he said during a press conference Tuesday. "They brought those assets in, the communication was much better. If this was luck, then I want more luck like this every time there is a storm."

In addition, the company, for once, seems to have been feeling the love from customers. 

The ever Pepco-critical Washington City Paper published a "Props to Pepco" post on its Housing Complex blog yesterday — although another writer pointed out that Pepco's accolades were really only coming due to the extremely low expectations people have of its performance. The Washington Post noted the lack of Pepco rage after Hurricane Sandy. And many others praised the utility publicly on Twitter — although most of them had a caveat ("this time") or admitted surprise at the company's relative success.

Leggett wasn't all positive in his discussion of the utility Tuesday, however. He also said that Pepco still has a long way to go in improving its infrastructure. When it does that, he said, the company can avoid the lengthy power outages that have occurred following storms that didn't give multiple days of warning.

WAMU 88.5

Audiences Get A Modern Look At A 19th Century Opera

Opera as seen through the lens of Google Glass? Wolf Trap is giving audiences the chance to mix technology with Bizet’s classic "Carmen" this month.
NPR

Can You Trust That Organic Label On Imported Food?

A new book claims the organic label can't be trusted, especially on food that's imported. Yet there is a global system for verifying the authenticity of organic food, and it mostly seems to work.
NPR

Democrats Make New Bid To Require Donor Transparency

The latest version of the DISCLOSE Act, which would force donor disclosure on outside organizations that engage in election politics, is facing now-familiar opposition from Republican lawmakers.
NPR

A Plan To Untangle Our Digital Lives After We're Gone

In the digital age, our online accounts don't die with us. A proposed law might determine what does happen to them. But the tech industry warns the measure could threaten the privacy of the deceased.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.