Thunderstorms ripped through Montgomery County and the District in the pre-dawn hours Saturday, leaving a path of fallen trees, downed electrical transmission wires and utility pole parts that resembled spaghetti [Metro, July 24]. The Post reported that 52,000 customers were without electricity at the peak of the outage.
Pepco employees and a good number of private contractors brought aboard for the emergency were at work before most of us were awake, clearing debris, cutting up trees as much as three feet in diameter and starting work to restore electricity, which involved handling a maze of tangled wire that would make a circuit board designer's job look like child's play.
I watched them work for more than a hour along Franklin Avenue in Silver Spring on Sunday evening. Four cherry pickers and a number of trucks with a dozen workers were handling wires that normally carry 69,000 volts, I was told. Yet, despite the hazards and the heat, the crews worked into the evening. My lights came on at 10:10 p.m.
Given the complexity and danger of electrical service, Pepco crews deserve a pat on the back and thanks for another job well done.
JACK E. BOUCHER
After Hurricane Isabel two years ago, Pepco promised improved service -- specifically, greater numbers of repair crews and a better system for reporting outages. Because outages occur rarely in some areas but frequently in others, Pepco also promised that it would study burying at least the feeder lines that serve entire neighborhoods.
The storm early last Saturday once again knocked out the power to my home; as usual, it did not affect my mother-in-law's electrical service, although she lives only 10 minutes away.
The storm passed over my home, with much thunder, lightning and rain. It was over in about 30 minutes. Except for a couple of Bradford pears, no trees fell in my development.
About 1:45 a.m. I called Pepco to report the outage. This required a long-distance call, and I had to speak to a computer. I was given no way to speak to a person.
The computer advised me that the estimated time for restoring my power was 2:30 a.m. At 7 a.m. I still had no power. I heard from neighbors that power would be restored sometime Monday. In reality, it was back on by 12:30 p.m. that day.
While Pepco may have changed the procedure for reporting outages, having to call long-distance and speak to a computer can't be characterized as an improvement. And both estimates Pepco gave on the time power would be restored were wrong.
Why can't Pepco do more than "study" burying power lines and improve service? My guess is that it doesn't want to spend the money. Our public service commissions and other local government institutions can't be performing their jobs properly either.
We need to correct these power problems now. I am tired of excuses.
BRUCE N. SHULMAN