(Non Storm Related) Power Outage on 11th St, NW in Columbia Heights?

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Dear PoPville,

Some time between 430-500pm today my basement apartment on 11th (across from Tubman Field) lost power in some rooms, but not others. In talking to neighbors this is an issue on my block and the surrounding area and I’ve also heard that Room 11 and El Chocho’s are closed due to no power. I’ve already called Pepco and they’re aware of the outage. There’s a rumor that the construction on Sherman is the cause. Have you heard anything?

@Room11dc tweets:

“No power on the strip! We are closed due to Pepco!”

Anyone else lose power today?

14 Comment

  • Lost power in our Apartment last Friday but BEFORE the storm (like 5pm, came back on at 5am, phew). It was a rolling blackout due to the heat and people maxing out the grid with AC and such. Only part of my block was out (this has happened before) and Ogden Market had half of it’s power out, while the other half of the store had power. Very strange. But it appears your place may share transformers and they are old and underground in our neighborhood and can just overload and go and sometimes cause a chain reaction.

    • claire

      In Bloomingdale? This is exactly what happened to us there – actually, first, half of our house lost power (basement and second floor totally out, a few lights and outlets working on the first floor), then a couple hours later (still before the storm), the rest of the power went out. Half of the house losing power has actually happened before, too, and yeah, something about the routing of the transformers.

      Here’s hoping everyone’s keeping their houses a few degrees warmer now so that we don’t have a blackout from overuse of AC again with the extreme heat this weekend!

  • Every house has three wires going into it, effectively +120V, 0, and -120V. Since AC power is a sinusoid cycle the plus and minus are just achieved by one being 180 degrees out of phase with the other. Most outlets are 120V, using one of the + or -120V and 0, but dryers and others have the big 240V outlets which use the +120 and -120V, the difference being the 240V that power big things. When they wire your house, they wire some circuits with the +120V & 0 and others with the -120V & 0. Since things are powered by the difference between voltages, they only see it as 120V. However if one of the 120V circuits on a block go bad, the rooms that use that wire get no power, so you will have some rooms with power and some not…and anything that is 240V will have none.

    • Randall – thank you! I love learning new things – this made my morning.

    • Um, mostly correct. It’s alternating current, there’s no such thing as positive or negative. All poles are 120VAC, but at different phases.

  • Also went most of the way up Hobart towards Georgia

  • we lost power at about 7pm on Harvard and Sherman and haven’t gotten it back yet. there is a weird dim power thing going on in some of the sockets from time to time…the coffee machine works, and some lights are really dim sometimes. but no a/c, major lights, refrigerator, etc.

  • I live at Irving and Sherman and we never lost power, but a friend at Sherman and Harvard had hers go out yesterday. Pepco said it won’t be back till 11 p.m. tonight.

  • I live on Sherman north of Kenyon. We lost power, according to my clock, somewhere around 3:15 pm yesterday afternoon. It was restored as of about midnight yesterday… just late enough for everyone to become resigned to the fact that you were going to be sleeping on the first floor “sleepover style” to escape the sweltering heat upstairs.

    Walking around the neighborhood, it seemed like all of Sherman on the block north of Kenyon was out, but not on Kenyon itself nor south of Kenyon.

    Pepco was on the scene as of about 730 pm working the problem, though appeared to be hanging out in their air conditioned van more than actually working. To be fair, given that some people have been without power since last week I was not expecting the speediest service anyway.

    Here is my question: Does anybody know if it was a problem with the transformer or if the road construction on Sherman is to blame?

    • Talked to the Pepco guy working at Sherman and Lamont and he said the transformer broke in the heat. Sustained heat for a week straight coupled with high demand from AC wears transformers down.

  • I live at Harvard & Sherman, and we’ve had rolling blackouts before. Last year nothing, but 2 years ago it happened twice in one hot week, and apparently was caused by an underground fire by a blown transformer.

    We lost power last night at 5:30pm, and it came back haf way at 2am. Emphasis on half-way… some light sockets work, most don’t. Luckily my refridgerator works, but not my TV or lights. Interesting – the blower in the A/C works, but the cooling condensor does not (so it just blows room temperature air).

    It seems like this area is notoriously a problem, and Pepco only ever does a patch fix. When are we going to get this fixed in a real way — or is this just going to be a perpetual problem??

  • Everyone should get used to this. As the oil not so slowly runs out, and the grid ages, and the economy continues to suffer, we will slowly but surely regress (or to some progress) back to the days before electricity. They call this the “information age” but it’s really the “oil age” and it won’t last forever.

    • A small fraction of 1% of US electricity comes from oil, and almost zero in this part of the country. Coal (~45%) and natural gas (~25%), yes. We’re not going to run out of fossil fuels, we’re just going to transition away from them as we move to renewable resources that have far lower societal costs. However, you are right that our power grid is in bad condition and getting worse.

  • Anyone know if the half-power issue has resolved? I’m at Harvard and Georgia, was out yesterday, and came back halfway at 2am until I went to work…

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