Pepco, Dominion cautious about promising when power will be restored

Pepco concedes that though 250,000 customers have power again as of Saturday, the work ahead is not going to be easy. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli, file)

WASHINGTON — Following the harshest windstorm the D.C. area has seen in five years, power companies are hustling to get the lights back on for customers throughout the region, but it may take days for the power to be restored fully.

Pepco President and CEO Dave Velasquez said that Pepco anticipates most customers will have their power restored late Sunday evening or even possibly Monday night.

“I cannot overstate how extensive the damage has been from this storm, and the impact that the sustained period of high winds has had on our work,” said Velasquez.

Dominion Energy’s Vice President of Technical Solutions, Kevin Curtis agreed.

“The damage has been significant and catastrophic in some areas,” Curtis said. “The high winds, the number of trees we’ve seen topple over; I’ve not seen a number of trees falling over like this in quite a while.”

Dominion Energy said Friday’s windstorm ranks as one of the top five damaging storms in regards to the number of customers impacted.

Curtis said it will be “a multiday event” to restore it completely.

“We currently have about 3,500 resources working on this storm and we’ve asked for some additional support to make sure we can restore lights as soon as possible,” Curtis said.

Still, Dominion customers in Northern Virginia and the Fredericksburg area may have to wait until Tuesday evening to see the power fully restored, according to the power company’s news release.

“We are full-force, all in to get the lights back on,” Curtis said. “I know it’s a significant impact to customers that are affected. I just want to reassure folks and thank them for their patience to let them know we are working as quickly as we can to get all the lights restored.”

Velasquez said that 1,600 Pepco employees are assisting in the restoration effort and the power company is working with crews from sister utility companies and has requests out for even more help.

“The men and women of Pepco are working 12 and 16 hour shifts around the clock,” Velasquez said.

At the height of the storm Friday, it was too dangerous for crews to go up in bucket trucks to make repairs, but now everyone is full go.

Velasquez announced a $50,000 donation to the Red Cross to help those most severely affected by the wind storm.

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) said crews worked through the night on Saturday to restore service to 5,000 customers in a news release on Sunday. By 1 p.m., there were still more than 8,000 customers without power.

Many of the outages require significant repairs to infrastructure, REC said. Because of the extensive damage, they are unable to estimate how long repairs will take.

As of 6:45 p.m. Sunday, the numbers for the following companies are as follows:

  • BGE: 32,067 customers are without power in the D.C. area. BGE said customers should prepare for the restoration effort to extend throughout the weekend and possibly into next week.
  • Pepco: 5,795 customers are without power in D.C., Montgomery and Prince George’s County
  • Dominion: 34,257  customers are without power in Northern Virginia, Fairfax County still has the largest number of people without power at a little more than 20,000
  • Rappahannock: 5,832 customers are without power in Rappahannock, Fauquier, Spotsylvania, Culpeper and Stafford counties
  • NOVEC: 2,572 customers are without power in Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, Stafford and Fauquier counties
  • SMECO: 1,192 customers are without power in Prince George’s, Charles and Calvert counties
  • Potomac Edison: 373 customers are without power in Montgomery, Howard, Frederick and Carroll counties

Anyone affected by a power outage shouldn’t report it on social media due to security. Instead, those affected should contact their provider via phone call or online.

Comcast customers in the Arlington area of Virginia are reporting a complete lack of service since Friday morning.

“At this time, it appears most issues are power related, and services should be restored for our customers as power comes back on,” Comcast said in an email.

“In some cases, there is damage related to the high winds and fallen trees, and our technicians are working to restore services as quickly as it’s safe to do so.”

Due to the power outages in Fairfax County, Virginia, some facilities are closed on Sunday, March 4.

  • Schools: Activities scheduled in Fairfax County public schools are canceled.
  • Parks and Recreation:
    • All Park Authority programs at Fairfax County public school locations are also canceled.
    • South Run RECenter will open at noon.
    • Spring Hill RECenter is closed.
    • Lake Accotink Park and Burke Lake Park are open, but the gates are closed to traffic.
    • Riverbend Park and Ellanor C. Lawrence are without power.
    • Clemyjontri Park is open but the bathrooms are closed.

Contact your provider at one of the links or numbers below:

Montgomery County, Maryland, is asking for the public’s help in reporting storm damage. Residents can use this online form.

Monitor any reported outages in the map below.

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