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Pepco makes changes after fallout from derecho

Friday - 6/28/2013, 10:39am  ET

WASHINGTON - One year after the derecho that sheared trees in half and left more than 900,000 people sweating in the dark for days, is the area better equipped to bounce back?

Marc Elrich, a Montgomery County councilmember, characterized Pepco's performance in the months after the derecho as very bad.

"You are the worst and I think that's a problem," he said.

Pete Petersen, head of emergency management for Pepco, says the storm's winds were incredibly violent.

"That's why you saw a lot of trees just sheared off 20 (to) 25 feet up in the air," he says.

State regulators called on all utilities, not just Pepco, to do a better job of letting customers know what's going on, especially the most vulnerable ones, and Petersen says Pepco got the message.

"For instance ... we have a whole new process in place for communicating information to (nursing homes)," he says.

Petersen also says Pepco's hardware has been upgraded and there is a new emphasis being placed on customer outreach.

WTOP's Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow @KateRyanWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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