The major snow storm that hit the Mid-Atlantic on Jan. 26, left more than 200,000 customers served by Potomac Electric Power Co. (Pepco) without power, and thousands without electricity for several days.
Thousands of AARP’s members, were among those Pepco customers affected by the outage. More than 325,000 AARP members reside in Pepco's service area of Montgomery County, Prince George's County and the District of Columbia.
In February, Pepco customers who are members and staff of AARP in the District of Columbia attended the Public Service Commission Hearing on Pepco’s customer service during major power outages.
While the Commission accepted no testimony except that of Pepco officials, AARP DC staff and volunteers informed the news media of their concerns.
Corrine Newman said her power was off for about 36 hours. She says she kept warm by remaining covered up in bed, venturing out of bed only to visit the bathroom. Newman said her power goes out so frequently she’s used to the routine. She wants to know what customers are expected to do to get their service quickly restored during power outages but says customer rates should not be increase to pay for customer service improvements.
Pepco officials told the Commission that frustrated customers may get “confused” about how to telephone the company to report power outages and downed power lines during a power outage.
Louis Davis, senior state director of AARP DC, told the Washington Post about AARP research which shows that more than 90 percent of DC residents surveyed said they want to live in their own homes as long as possible, but he added that residents need reliable electric service in order to fulfill that dream.
The AARP District of Columbia State Office is strongly recommending that Pepco follow “best practices” to improve service reliability, and improve the utility’s response to major storms.
You’re invited to tell AARP DC about your experience with power outages in the District of Columbia by logging onto the State Office blog.