Local Power Companies Brace for Storm

Pepco is already warning customers that they could be without power for some time in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.

In a news release on Thursday, Pepco Region President Thomas H. Graham said customers needed to know in advance that the storm could result in "extended power outages."

The utility has been dogged in the past by outages that have left thousands in the dark, sometimes for days, in the Washington suburbs.

All local power companies have begun preparing for Hurricane Irene. Find out what your company's been up to, and how you can report downed lines and learn about outages in your area.

PEPCO says it began preparing for the storm on Monday. The company is keeping on call 340 utility contractors who already are working on the system and has secured 330 tree crews from Asplundh. They've also requested help from 600 additional personnel, and 150 from First Energy in Ohio have already arrived in the area. Pepco's line crews will work extended hours, and the company will also have an increased number of customer service employees on duty.

Pepco is also contacting, via an automated messaging system, customers who have registered with the company as needing electricity for critical medical equipment such as life support.

"Irene is a large and powerful hurricane and we need our customers to know in advance that it could result in extended power outages," said Thomas H. Graham, Pepco region president. "We understand that they need to plan their lives during emergencies and want to help as best we can."

To report an outage: 877-PEPCO-62 (877-737-2662) and press 1

To report a downed wire: 877-PEPCO-62 (877-737-2662) and press 2

Pepco Outage Map: click here

BGE is preparing equipment and other resources that will be needed to restore outages as soon as possible. The company says it's "pre-mobilizing several hundred linemen and support staff" from outside of the area, who were expected to begin arriving as of yesterday.

Some of these resources are expected to begin arriving in BGE’s service area today, with more likely to arrive on Thursday and Friday. This proactive action will ensure BGE and its external resources are available to begin restoration work as soon as the storm has cleared Central Maryland and it is safe to do so.

However, they are warning customers that they should be prepared for heavy rain and wind gusts up to 50 mph, and a storm of that magnitude could leave some customers without power "for multiple days."

To report an outage: 877-778-2222

To report a downed wire: 410-685-0123

BGE Outage Map: click here

Dominion Virginia says it will spend more than $1.7 billion over a two-year period to improve its electric grid, which will include strengthening it against storms. The company says it preps for big storms with increased training for key responders and conducting test runs.

To report an outage or downed wire: 866-DOM-HELP (366-4357)

Dominion Virginia Outage Map: click here

NOVEC seems to have a sense of humor. "We were expecting a hurricane this week –- not an earthquake!" Electric System Operations VP Allen Barbee said in a release. After the quake, NOVEC inspected their electric distribution system and determined everything was fine. Crews are now preparing for the storm by gathering equipment and supplies. They say their utility trucks are "ready to roll."

To report an outage or downed wire: 703-335-0500 or 888-335-0500

NOVEC Outage Map: click here

SMECO of Southern Maryland says its outage restoration policy is "to make repairs that will restore service to the most people in the least amount of time. Transmission lines and substations are repaired first, followed by distribution lines that feed neighborhoods; tap lines and individual service lines are then repaired to restore power to customers who may still be without electricity."

SMECO Outage Map: click here

To report an outage: 877-74-SMECO (877-747-6326)

To report a downed wire: 888-440-3311

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