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Delmarva Power Prepares for Arrival of Hurricane Irene

Friday, August 26, 2011

Additional Personnel Mobilize Customers Urged to Prepare for Power Outages

Newark, Del. – Pepco Holdings, Inc. (PHI), the parent company of Delmarva Power, is closely monitoring the path of Hurricane Irene which is expected to hit the region late Saturday evening and continue through Sunday. The National Weather Service has stated that the Delmarva Peninsula could experience “extremely destructive” conditions, including high winds, heavy rains and potential for flooding. PHI has activated its Incident Response Plan and urges customers to prepare for potential power outages, with the possibility of multi-day outages in some areas.

“Based on the weather updates we have received from the weather services, there is a very real possibility for significant damage to our electrical infrastructure,” said Joseph M. Rigby, Chairman, President and CEO of PHI. “Planning and preparation are critical as this storm approaches. We cannot stress enough to each and every one of our customers in the D.C., Maryland, Delmarva Peninsula, and southern New Jersey service regions, that customers’ safety and the safety of our crews is our top priority.”

Additional Crews Added to Handle Storm Damage

This is an all-hands event and every employee has assumed a second job to support storm preparation and restoration efforts. Additionally, the company is arranging for mutual assistance help from our utility partners located in areas unaffected by this storm.

“Our first priority is the safety of our customers and our crews. Repair crews will begin assessing damage and making repairs once it has been determined that it is safe for them to do so. We cannot send crews out safely until sustained winds drop below 35 miles an hour which is an Occupational Health and Safety requirement,” said Mike Maxwell, Vice President of Asset Management for PHI.

Maxwell went on to note several key precautions:

  • Do not approach or attempt to move downed power lines.
  • Immediately report damage or outages to Delmarva Power’s customer call center at 1-800-898-8045. Allow trained line crews to handle any damage caused by the storm.
  • Delmarva Power’s website ( www.delmarva.com ) will have the most up-to-date information regarding service and customers are recommended to go there for status updates.

Maxwell added, “After a severe storm such as this, assessing damage and estimating when customers will be restored could take up to 24 hours after the heart of the storm has moved from the area. After that assessment is completed, we will then prioritize work, determine resources needed and assign crews. We will restore power by targeting wires serving critical infrastructure, such as hospitals, fire stations, and police stations, as well as those serving the greatest number of customers. Again, after a storm of this magnitude, we anticipate that this will be a multi-day outage situation. ”

Storm preparation tips include the following :

  • Visit www.delmarva.com for preparation tips and follow the advice of your local emergency management officials.
  • Assemble an emergency "storm kit," including:
    • A battery-powered radio or television
    • Flashlight
    • A first-aid kit
    • Battery-powered or windup clock
    • Extra batteries
    • Special needs items, such as an insulated cooler
    • A list of important and emergency phone numbers.
  • If you or someone you know uses life-support equipment that requires electricity to operate, identify a location with emergency power capabilities and make plans to go there or to a hospital during a prolonged outage.
  • Keep at least a three-day supply of non-perishable foods and bottled water for each person in the household, as well as a hand-operated can opener.
  • Have a telephone with a cord or cell phone to use as a backup. Cordless telephones require electricity to operate, and won't work if there is an outage.
  • Protect your electronic equipment. Unplug sensitive electronics or plug computers and other sensitive equipment into surge suppressors, and consider a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) for temporary battery backup power.
  • Turn off power to flood-prone basement appliances if it is safe to do so. However, if you have an electrically-operated sump pump, you should not turn off your power.
  • Have adequate prescription medicines or infant supplies on hand.
  • Tune in to local news broadcasts for the latest weather and emergency information.
  • If you use an personal generator, please take all recommended precautions
  • Take cover if necessary
  • Stay away from downed wires. Call Delmarva Power at 1-800-898-8042 to report downed or damaged wires. To report a natural gas emergency in New Castle County, Del. call 302-454-0317.

“A storm of this magnitude will pose major challenges. We will continue to provide updates to the public. At the same time, we are asking our customers to be patient while we work to restore power as quickly and as safely as possible,” Maxwell concluded.

Additional storm preparedness and safety information may be found at www.delmarva.com .

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Delmarva Power, a public utility owned by Pepco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: POM), provides safe and reliable energy to more than 500,000 electric delivery customers in Delaware and Maryland and over 121,000 natural gas delivery customers in northern Delaware .