Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Power coming back on
Today Pepco finally started to get a handle on the power problems in Montgomery County Maryland. Around noon I drove down Old Georgetown Road and almost all the lights were still out. At least today they had people directing traffic at Old Georgetown and Arlington Rd. By 3:30 I noticed the that light was working again. On the drive home I saw power crews working by the side of the road (see the exceptionally blurry photo).
I noticed a bit of damage I hadn't seen before, the top of this tree is hanging from a power line!
I'm actually writing this on my on computer and posting using my own internet connection. After over 50 hours the power came back on in my house. There was much celebrating and dancing. I waited 5 minutes or so to make sure it was going to stay on before I turned the generator off and began rolling up the extension cords. I know there are still a lot of people out there without power and pepco estimates several more days before everyone has power.
This was not a fun experience, Pepco totally failed to realize the magnitude of the problem and waited too long before calling in out of state crews. The problem was compounded by the lack of police directing traffic at busy intersections along Old Georgetown Road, Wisconsin Avenue, and Conneticut Avenue on Monday. Power delivery is still a monopoly around here, they get there cost + profit and it doesn't encourage them to be effective. There should be penalties for them whenever large number of people lose power. That would really encourage them to get power lines underground, especially those that serve a lot of houses.
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I'm not happy with the lack of communication from Pepco. It was a remarkable failure on their part. I don't fault Pepco for the power going out, and I'm not in a position to judge their response in terms of the swiftness or slowness of fixing things, but I CAN judge how long it took for them to communicate with customers, the media, and local governments, and I am shocked by how poorly that was handled.ReplyDelete
I'm not sure moving power lines underground is the answer, given the estimated cost of doing so. I don't know about you, but my Pepco bills are staggeringly high as it is.
As for the police response, it seems unfair to fault them. There are only so many police officers, and I've read that 1/3rd of traffic lights in Montgomery County were knocked out. Driving down Rockville Pike and River Road was damn scary with the traffic signals out, and I'm appalled at the number of drivers that don't know how to handle a broken traffic light, but the police did the best they could in a bad situation.