With fewer outages, and those occurring being shorter in duration, Pepco customers are starting to see benefits from ongoing efforts to improve reliability.
“Providing safe and reliable electricity to our customers is our utmost priority,” Thomas H. Graham, president, Pepco Region, said earlier this month. “We are investing more than a half-billion dollars in reliability enhancements to make sure we can meet our customers’ expectations. This is an ongoing effort, but it is starting to pay off.”
Customers served by upgraded power lines experienced a 39 percent reduction in the average number of power outages of normal day-to-day service during 2011 as compared to 2010. When outages did occur, they didn’t last nearly as long, declining by 56 percent compared to 2010.
Pepco began a strategic initiative in September 2010 to improve reliability including trimming trees and replacing cable along power lines that span thousands of miles. Since then, Pepco has:
- Trimmed more than 3,239 miles of trees along power lines in Maryland and 556 miles in the District of Columbia. Pepco plans to trim another 750 miles in Maryland between now and the end of the year and 242 miles in the District. Pepco increased the number of tree trimmers on its system from 150 in September 2010 to 315 currently. The company also has award-winning arborists on staff who help ensure that the trees that are being trimmed stay healthy.
- In 2011 Pepco inspected 63 of its electric lines that provide power to its substations and found that tree trimming was necessary for all of them and improvements were needed for all of them. The improvements should be completed by this summer. The trimming should be completed in 2013.
- Renewed or replaced more than 439 miles of neighborhood underground electric cable in Maryland since September 2010 and plans to do the same for another 199 miles between now and the end of 2012.
Beyond trimming trees and replacing or renewing cable, Pepco is also improving the service of feeder lines that bring power into neighborhoods with the poorest reliability and on enhancing the responsiveness of its customer service center. Since September 2010, Pepco has enhanced more than 73 distribution feeders in Maryland and 53 feeders in the District of Columbia, and plans to complete work on an additional 60 feeders in Maryland and another 29 feeders in the District between now and the end of the year.
In Customer Care, the number of representatives who take customer calls has doubled – from 40 to 80, the number of phone lines has more than doubled – from 300 to 644, and the company has made arrangements to tap into more outside customer service help during major outages. All Customer Care representatives have been retrained, and Pepco also provided training for the 275 employees who will provide additional help when needed.
“We have worked hard to identify areas where we can improve our system and our performance, and we are working hard and making the investments necessary to get those improvements made,” Graham said. “We are making progress, and we will continue this work to better meet our own expectations and those of our customers.”