DC-region utility companies prepare for another round of winter weather

D.C.-area power companies that were challenged by an unexpectedly intense weather event earlier this month want to assure customers they’re preparing for whatever this weekend’s storm might bring.

“We have proactively staged our crews around the service territory, so that they can respond efficiently,” said Casey Hollins, with the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative.

Other utility companies are doing the same.

Dominion Energy, in Virginia, and Pepco, which serves D.C. and parts of Maryland, also have contractors standing by, and requests in for support/mutual aid from other utility companies if needed.

“In the event that the storm does become serious, and impact the system, we’ll have crews in place that will include tree trimming personnel, line mechanics, and underground and overhead line workers that can address those issues as quickly as possible and safely,” Pepco’s Sean Matthews said.

If you lose electricity, it’d be a good idea to have already printed out important numbers, such as the utility’s phone number to report power outages.

“We know that people were frustrated during the last storm by changing estimates for power restoration,” said Peggy Fox, of Dominion Energy.

“We’re going to work to make sure that we have strong information from the assessments by our patrol crews so we can have confidence in the estimates that we provide to customers. Our goal is to provide accurate data based on what we know at any given point in time,” Fox said.

Fox said that during the first storm of the year, impassable roads prevented quick assessments of what she called “catastrophic damages.”

Area transportation departments said they’re getting ready, too.

Road salting is already underway in D.C., and the District is urging residents and businesses to stay off the roads during Sunday afternoon and into Monday morning.

“We want to make sure our residents know to look out for each other, particularly when we get a lot of wintry precipitation and snow and rain,” said Chris Rodriguez, the director of the city’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency. “And if they see downed trees or down poles or hazardous conditions, they can always report that to 311.”

Depending on individual situations with supplies, people might want to do storm prep around the house as needed.

“In our rural areas, where you don’t have water during a power outage, fill up your bathtub so that you have that water supply for flushing [toilets],” Hollins said.

Andrew Alsbrooks

Andrew Alsbrooks is an Associate Producer at WTOP. Prior to joining WTOP, Andrew worked for NBC Washington and he currently works at NBC Sports Washington from time to time. Finding the “why” in every story is what drives him to put his best foot forward on any topic that faces him.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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