Workers at the shelter for the homeless operated by the Community for Creative Non-Violence accused the U.S. General Services Administration of harassment yesterday for failing to notify them of a scheduled power cutoff by the Potomac Electric Power Co.
Pepco officials said electricity at the shelter, at 425 D Street NW, was cut off yesterday morning and was restored shortly before 9 last night. Pepco said the cutoff was necessary to replace feeder lines in the area.
Shelter workers expressed anger at the GSA, which owns the building at Second and D streets NW, for not notifying them of the scheduled cutoff. "It's just another form of harassment," said CCNV leader Mitch Snyder, who sat in the shelter's darkened lobby trying to find somebody to turn on the electricity before shelter residents started arriving for evening meals.
GSA officials familiar with yesterday's events could not be reached for comment.
Pepco spokesman Nancy Moses said her company notified the GSA it intended to turn off the electricity and the GSA gave its approval. Landlords are supposed to let their tenants know, Moses said, but the shelter "didn't know. We followed our procedures, but apparently GSA didn't notify them."
Workers at the 800-bed shelter, who are fighting federal efforts to close the structure, said they refused to cooperate with workers from Pepco and the GSA who arrived to shut the electricity off early in the morning. But, they said, Pepco and GSA workers returned at about 11 a.m. with police officers and turned off the power.
The Mayor's Command Center arranged for food to be brought from another shelter to feed those at the Second Street shelter, and the D.C. Fire Department planned to provide a power generator so the homeless could have lights with their dinner.