D.C. Council Member Calls for Power Outage Investigation

By Chris Gordon
|  Thursday, Jun 2, 2011  |  Updated 11:58 PM EDT
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D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander wants the Public Service Commission to investigate Pepco and the cause of the two-day power outage downtown.

Chris Gordon

D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander wants the Public Service Commission to investigate Pepco and the cause of the two-day power outage downtown.

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D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander wants the Public Service Commission to investigate Pepco and the cause of the two-day power outage downtown.

Pepco attributed the outage to underground cable that expanded due to the heat. The blackout closed businesses and D.C. and federal agencies and left some residents in the dark – and heat. Alexander said D.C. residents deserve better than "subpar" service.

Pepco crews made temporary repairs to the underground cable and restored power Thursday afternoon.

As the good news that power was back on spread, residents of Sibley Plaza Apartments filed off the cooling bus and returned to their apartments. Resident Tuwana Cook said she just wanted to take a bath and go to sleep.

Just up North Capitol Street at the Tyler House, residents rejoiced at the return of air conditioning, lights and hot water. Shirley Rawlings said she was going to "get down on my knees and thank God."

A group of residents shook hands with D.C. firefighters, thanking them for their service keeping watch to make sure no one was overcome by the heat during the power outage.

Residents had their hopes dashed Wednesday night when Pepco restored power for about an hour only to lose it again because of a new outage.

Pepco crews replaced burned underground cable and by noon Pepco President Tom Graham was on site to look over the repairs for himself.

"You can't guarantee 100 percent service is never going to go out,” Graham said. “There's a tremendous infrastructure that we have responsibility for managing. So will interruptions take place? Yes, they will take place. Will we respond to them quickly? Absolutely."

Pepco restored power in phases Thursday. As Pepco performed repairs and testing, Sibley Plaza had an outage because of blown fuses, which since have been replaced. Permanent repairs will go on for several days and will require some street closures, but the impact on traffic is expected to be minimal.

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