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A WUSA9 analysis of restoration averages shows Pepco trailing other utilities in restoration averages in Washington, DC, and Virginia

6:23 PM, Jul 6, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - Pepco had the lowest restoration average for three straight days, and nearly tied for last on two of the five days following Friday's storm according to a 9 Wants to Know analysis.

See a Pepco statement, released after publication, on our analysis at the bottom of this page.

Using data obtained from utility websites and responses to WUSA9 data requests directly to the utilities involved in last week's storm, our analysis tracked the percentage of customers restored with power.

In the 24 hours after the storm, according to Pepco, it had restored only 20% of its customers, compared to the much smaller Novec, which reported restoring 62%.

Pepco was also behind Potomac Edison, BGE, and Dominion which scored the highest restoration rate of the big utilities at 26% with power in our analysis of June 30th.

Dominion responded to 1,040,000 customers without power compared to Pepco which reported 456,710 disconnected.

Of the big three on Sunday, our analysis shows Dominion restored 58%, BGE 53%, and Pepco was in last place, reporting 42% restored.

As crews spread throughout the region Monday, Pepco again ranked last in our analysis.

BGE reported 68% restored. Dominion, connected the most of the big three, reporting 73%. Pepco reported only 65% of its 456-thousand customers had power.

   _____________________________________

      June 30  July 1    July 2   July 3    July 4  

Pepco    20%     42%      65%     82%     92%      

Pot. Ed  24%     64%      74%       *         96%     

Dom.     26%     58%      73%     90%     95%   

Novec   62%     84%      89%      98%     99%      

BGE       21%     53%      68%      81%     91%    

*Potomac Edison did not report numbers for July 3rd and declined to fulfill WUSA9's request to provide the data.

      ____________________________________

Tuesday and Wednesday, our analysis shows Pepco not coming in last, but within one point of last place, nearly tying with BGE.

The numbers angered Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner.

"We expect them to be looking at these numbers and we expect them to hold Pepco accountable if in their judgment they have not measured up," Berliner said. "From what I see there is certainly a strong basis to assume that they have not measured up."

Pepco provided new numbers used for this analysis, which improved their averages compared to the re-connections they had reported earlier, but the utility did not offer comment on the comparison.

A BGE spokesman said many factors can impact the averages.

"As you can see, the numbers for us and Pepco speak to what we discussed (about different utilities facing different restoration challenges)," said BGE spokesman Rob Gould.  "A much more densely populated area and, a lot more trees, big ones, in those densely populated areas."

Experts say a lot of factors beyond restoration averages are needed to fairly evaluate a utility's response to a storm.

Unedited Pepco response:

A storm affects each utility differently. The systems, environments    and the damage left behind is different for each.

For our restoration, we had to first address the damage to backbone of our system - transmission lines and substations -- before we could make repairs that would restore power to our customers. This was not lagging behind other utilities but instead appropriately addressing the unique damage to our system.

The data in your chart also is incomplete and misleading. To accurately compare performance, one would need to look at the overall restoration performance, which would show that we are in line with our neighboring utilities.

Also, competition among utilities is not a factor in the restoration process. Our focus is on our customers and performing to the best of our abilities to restore power to them as quickly as possible.

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