Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Silver Spring Unplugged

Day 3 and still without power (I think). After returning home from work yesterday evening and confirming our power had yet to be restored, I bailed on my sweat lodge for the night in favor of a more temperate abode. I haven't been back this morning, but based on what I've seen elsewhere I'm skeptical that the electricity is back up and running on my street. I commuted up River Road this morning and the power was out from the D.C. line to at least the Beltway entrance. There's clearly a lot of work yet to be done in Montgomery County.

Apparently I am supposed to get some idea of what's going on from this Pepco map. If someone can translate for me, please do.

When the lights eventually do come back on, I intend to blare this out my window in celebration:


JS said...

Good luck! We were fortunate enough to get our power back early Monday morning.

I realize, of course, that that was a very nasty little storm we had. But it was little, in the sense of brief. If this is the fallout from 10 minutes of high winds, what would happen if we had a sustained very nasty storm?

Is the electrical infrastructure unusually poor in the county? Is Pepco unusually bad at responding? Or am I being unreasonable in thinking that 36 hours should be enough time to get power back to almost all customers in most non-thermonuclear-related circumstances?

I've lived in other places with bad weather, and I don't think I've ever lost power for more than twelve hours before, whereas that's twice this year in Montgomery County (not a poverty-stricken backwoods, last time I checked).

I'm willing to give Pepco a mulligan on the blizzard because that was obviously a Very Big Deal, and transport to downed lines was next to impossible, etc. But a 10 minute thunderstorm?

Maybe I'm just being unreasonable, though.

Clancy said...

Before I moved to SS from DC in 2000, I was told that MC once considered a huge project to bury most of its power lines, but abandoned it due to expense. With the amount of trees in this area, it's likely the only solution to the repeated/frequent power outages. (We've lost power seven times since June. Usually for only 2-3 hours, but it's getting out of hand.)

MT said...

The power lines did not come down because of the wind. Trees and tree limbs came down because of the wind. Some in back yards, some on top of houses or cars, and some simply fell in the woods. But other trees fell on power lines. You may ask: Why are trees allowed to grow up through and over the power lines? The answer is that a few people convinced the Montgomery County Council to restrict PEPCO's ability to trim the trees. Those few people want to preseve the tree cover, and rightly so. Unfortunately, in their zeal they lost sight of the hazard they would create in the future when trees would fall on power lines causing families and neighborhoods to be without power for multiple days. This time we were lucky, the storm was followed by moderate temperatures. The news has been free of stories about heat related deaths of infants and elderly. It seems that we should wait for another bad storm before we re-think our reasons for growing trees where they will sooner or later drop on and take out our electric power. On the other hand, maybe one day the power lines will be put underground. At a cost of more than a million dollars a mile. How many miles of road in Montgomery County? Like, how many of us want that cost added to the electric bill? Maybe it is time to seriously trim some trees.

Bruce said...

I actually thought The Map was fairly interesting. However most of the day Monday you couldn't get anywhere near The Map as the Pepco site got slammed.

Yes JS, you are being unreasonable. I haven't seen debris strewn about like this since the hurricane a few years back. I was out for about 24 hours, and still thought Pepco did a good job.

I like the trees and I actually like the telephone poles too. I'm willing to put up with it.

Anonymous said...

Enough about your problems - let's talk about my problems!

I haven't had Comcast (neither Internet nor cable) since Sunday. Does anyone else have this problem, and did they give you any information about when it would be over? I waited on hold for a long time last night to reach a human being, only for her to tell me that they had no idea when the outage would be fixed.

Sligo said...

Of course, you mean that you don't have XFINITY.

Anonymous said...

The gazette is reporting that you can now call Pepco and will get an estimate as to when power will be restored: http://www.gazette.net/stories/07272010/montnew131443_32569.php

Call 877-PEPCO62

Anonymous said...

The link to the gazette story gets cut off, but the story is prominent on the homepage (gazette.net)

Robert said...

Pepco's map is practically useless. They need to show the outages at a much greater level of detail, at the individual street and block level.

Anonymous said...

That's not a Pepco map it's the boardgame Risk. Clearly the player with the blue pieces is going to win.

perrik said...

The Pepco outage map is fairly useless. Almost every "estimated restoration" time is listed as July 30 at 11:30pm. When I called yesterday for the estimate, the system told me July 30 at 6am.

What's really frustrating is that the rest of our street and the adjacent streets were restored early Monday afternoon. A cluster of 5 houses on our street - ours among them - are still out of service. And since our neighborhood is now just a few spotty outage clusters here and there, we are no doubt at the very end of the list for restoration. (at least we have our own little set of triangles on the map, so they haven't forgotten about us... maybe)

Since Sunday I've been bouncing around various locations to get power, wifi, and air conditioning. I can now describe the layout at every Starbucks in Howard County...

Anonymous said...


This interview goes into detail about burying the power lines and the tree cover problem.

But my favorite part of it was how they gracefully avoided the question, "What plans does Pepco have to improve the infrastructure of our power lines to prevent this type of ongoing problem whenever we have a storm?"


Brent said...

Be careful what you wish for about underground lines. Our utilities are buried (17 YO in-fill development near DTSS)and for the past 3 weeks I've been fighting with Verizon over damage done to my lawn when they dug it up to install a neighbor's FIOS (yes, sometimes they have to go through your property to get to someone else). As I've discovered, they do minimal lawn restoration -- I'm having to pay $375 for sod because the house is for sale and can't look like *$#&*@ in the meantime. PLUS -- Verizon cut MY cable while installing the neighbor's and I went without any phone, cable or Internet for 5 days! Again, undergrounding sounds great until something goes wrong -- or just a new line has to go someplace.

perrik said...

I must admit, I appreciate the honesty of the Pepco customer service reps. "Sorry, they haven't told us a damn thing. I don't know when you'll get power back."

According to the current outage map, 64 customers in 20904 are still without power. I'm getting really tired of belonging to such an exclusive club. That's, what, 111 hours without power so far?

Some big Pepco rep promised yesterday that they would give the Sunday outages priority over the new ones caused by Thursday's storm. Looking at the outage map and service numbers, I call shenanigans.