Officials of the Potomac Electric Power Co. yesterday asserted that they had restored power throughout the Washington area without regard to the economic status or racial composition of neighborhoods following the June 27 storm was to return power to the maximum number of customers as quickly as possible.
Nahikian said she had received complaints from persons who had waited up to three days for their power to be restored. Pepco officials said that the last 150 customers who had lost power did not have it restored until late June 30 or early July 1 - three to four days after the storm. These customers, according to Pepco officials, were located mainly in outlying areas.
According to Wallace Johnson, manager of electrical systems operations for Pepco. "There was not a last area" for restoration of power Pepco Johnson said tried to restore power throughout its system - which includes the District of Columbia. Prince George's and Montgomery Counties and Rosslyn - as equitably as possible. "I feel we did as good a job as any I have ever seen in applying forces equitably," Johnson said.
Johnson described to Nahikian and others at the meeting the system Pepco uses to respond to complaints from customers who are without power. According to Pepco vice president for consumer affairs James Culp, 51.485 calls were received from customers between 7 p.m. June 27 and 8:30 a.m. June 30.
Johnson said customers were asked a series of questions concerning where they lived whether their neighbors had power whether they could see sparks from power lines and other matters designed to determine the severity and magnitude of the problem. This information, Johnson said, was fed into a computer which grouped complaints according to locale analyzed the data and presented Pepco with priorities for restoring power according to pre-determined considerations.
According to Johnson, Prince George's County was hit hardest by the storm, and on the average it took Pepco longer to restore power there than anywhere else in its service area - 14.64 hours. In Montgomery County, the average restoration time was 13 hours and in the District, 12.99 hours, according to Johnson. Within the District, he said, the two hardest-hit areas were far Northwest and far Southeast. Pepco customers in both areas had to wait an average of about 16.7 hours for their power to be restored, he said.
Nahikian said after the meeting that it was not possible, on the basis of information given at the meeting, to tell whether Pepco had discriminated in any way - racially, economically or geographically - in restoring power. She said that appropriate public bodies - the Consumer Utility Board, the People's Counsel and the Public Service Commission - should analyze Pepco's data to determine whether discrimination existed.