Utilities prep for next round of storms

Utility crews work to repair power lines after a storm last year. (WTOP File)

WASHINGTON – With severe storms threatening to roll into the area Wednesday, weather forecasters are playing key roles at Pepco, Baltimore Gas and Electric, Dominion Virginia Power and other area utility companies.

When thunderstorms strike there’s always a potential for falling tree limbs to topple power lines and knock out power. The utilities are bracing for any outages produced by severe weather, with the goal of promptly restoring power.

“We are looking at the weather updates regularly. We are also looking at the radar across the Midwest,” says Myra Oppel, spokeswoman for Pepco.

Pepco employs 150 individuals and has 450 contractors in its system who can be put to work repairing lines for power restoration.

Staffing decisions will be made when the utility companies have a clear picture of Wednesday’s weather.

“As we get a better sense of what could be coming our way, that’s when we would decide whether we want to participate in mutual assistance calls,” Oppel says.

Utility companies often provide each other mutual aid by dispatching repair crews to areas hit by outages.

“We are preparing for the possibility that we will see severe weather, such as heavy rain and high wind,” says Rachael Lighty, spokeswoman for BGE.

Ligthy said the utility is already discussing the possibility of boosting staffing levels to ensure restoring power “as quickly and as safely as possible.”

A spokeswoman for Dominion Virginia Power said the company keeps staff on standby from May to October and requires employees to report to work at a moment’s notice.

Contacting power companies

Should the electricity go off, here are the websites and phone numbers for area power companies:

With any storm, you can listen live to WTOP from any phone at 202-380-9977. Follow @WTOP on Twitter. Text “POWER” to 91035 for a full list of power company phone numbers.

Print the electric company phone numbers.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

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