Pepco to submit major service outage restoration plan to D.C. regulators

District of Columbia regulators on July 13 adopted rules requiring Potomac Electric Power (Pepco) to submit a major service outage restoration plan.

The rules will be effective upon publication of the notice of final rulemaking in the D.C. Register, and Pepco must file its plan with the District’s Public Service Commission (PSC) within 60 days of the effective date.

The PSC said it initially proposed the adoption of the new rules in April, adding that the plan will provide a description of, and procedures for, Pepco’s response to major service outage events.

Some of the topics and issues required within the plan include:

  • Major service outage restoration preparation, training and drills.
  • Activation, mobilization and deployment of internal and external resources, including staffing levels and equipment.
  • Major service outage restoration priorities, taking into account, for instance, the electric power needs of emergency responders and their associated dispatching systems, hospitals, water and sewer pumping stations.
  • Damage assessment and inspections.
  • Public safety, including wire down response.
  • Deployment and supervision of, and communications with, field crews, whether composed of the utility’s employees, employees of third-party contractors or composed of temporary personnel obtained through a mutual assistance agreement.
  • Development and communication of estimated restoration times and assessment of estimated times of restoration accuracy, during and after the major service outage.

Pepco to respond on recent storm outages

The PSC also said it expects a written restoration report regarding the June 29 “derecho” that affected more than 66,000 District customers.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center, a derecho is a widespread, long-lived wind storm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms.

Pepco must file the report within 21 days following the end of a major service outage to the PSC and the Office of the People’s Counsel.

The report will contain information regarding the outage, including outage causes, the number of customers affected, the utility’s restoration efforts, its compliance with its restoration plan and an analysis of its performance, the PSC added.

The PSC will hold a hearing on the report, which is due July 30.

The utility is also to participate in a series of hearings convened by the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC), following outages in the state from the same storm.

Legislative-style hearings are scheduled for Sept. 13 and, if needed, Sept. 14, to review major outage reports, which are to be filed by the applicable electric distribution utilities, the PSC added July 13.

According to Pepco, which is a subsidiary of Pepco Holdings (NYSE:POM), at peak the utility had more than 443,000 customers without service, and according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the storm left more than 3.8 million customers without power throughout the Midwest and mid-Atlantic.

The PSC said that along with Pepco, other applicable utilities are Baltimore Gas and Electric, Potomac Edison and Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative.

Eight evening public hearings will also be held in August in the utilities’ service territories.

“We have scheduled the public hearings in advance of the hearings with the utility companies so that we can hear customers’ concerns and use that information as we question the utilities and evaluate their storm reports,” PSC Chairman Douglas Nazarian said in the statement.

Written public comments may be submitted by Sept. 10, the PSC said.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3286 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares was TransmissionHub’s chief editor until August 2021, as well as part of the team that established TransmissionHub in 2011. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial from 2005 to 2011. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines.