“First, absolute shout out to Pepco & Pepco workers. Second, what on earth is going on and when will it be over?”

by Prince Of Petworth July 18, 2016 at 10:00 am 25 Comments

power outage

A reader reports Sunday night:

“We are moving into hour 48+ of Pepco response at 14 & V. That large vehicle on left, partially obscured by tree, says “diesel” on side. That, and the constant very loud engine noise over the last 24+ hours, and we have surmised that they are powering the building on the corner with a generator.

First, absolute shout out to Pepco & Pepco workers. There has been a large team in yellow safety vests all weekend, working around the clock, in long pants and horrible heat – and every time I’ve looked out my window they have been working their butts off. Pepco even apparently brings in food and refreshments, as there are tents set up with buffet and stacks of drinks. Very much exceeded my expectations in terms of big energy company taking care of workers, and workers working tail off all weekend.

Second, what on earth is going on and when will it be over? I’ve searched online and everything seems to say resolved – but the fact that V street is still closed to traffic, diesel generator still pumping, and yellow vests still swarming begs to differ.
Any news?”

  • UR is back

    It’s over. Union Row got power back around 4:30am when they finalized switching us over from the temporary generators to the regular power grid. Pepco worked around the clock to fix the problem and it is much appreciated although we never learned what caused the fire and how it will be prevented in the future.

    • annonny

      Not knowing where this fire came from is a big problem. Will the DC Public Service Commission review this or do we have to ask our council people to do so? Seems like there’s been a lot of development in the neighborhoods where the outage occurred – so perhaps the system is now under-capacity/overloaded?

      • UR is back

        What the problem is, it was enough to fill the UR parking garage with smoke which was pretty alarming and probably not good for people with breathing issues. And I don’t know if there were people with mobility issues that were stuck until they used the emergency generators to power an elevator. Agree that the City needs to address the cause before this causes a catastrophe.

        • FridayGirl

          Agreed about the Pepco issues and possible overloaded system. Also, does Union Row not have emergency power? My building had one elevator going on emergency power the whole time (along with hallway lighting, etc.) That is concerning if your building doesn’t……

          • UR is back

            We had emergency power for some hallway lights and one elevator but I think emergency power caused all of the elevators initially to go offline and then one was operational in fire department mode. Pretty sure the smoke detectors and fire supression system were offline.

          • FridayGirl

            Ah, yikes!

          • textdoc

            Hardwired smoke detectors should have battery backups.

    • John

      A transformer blew out. Over 200 degrees in the manhole, so not easy to get in there (and stay long enough) to fix it. Pepco workers remarkably friendly and were answering questions on the scene. Sucks, but these things happen.

  • Lisa

    There have been a lot of power outages lately across the city. Right after Pepco announced a rate hike…

    • womp

      The outage Friday afternoon/night in Mount Vernon Triangle was pretty scary because apparently no one in this city understands that stoplights turn into 4-way stops when they’re not working. Attempting to cross NY Ave at 5th & L was Frogger IRL.

      • Cy Nick

        And by “understands”, I think you meant “cares”.

        • womp

          point to you, sir!

    • Survivor77


  • Anonymous

    Yeah, we had a reservation for brunch at 11am at Provision 14. Showed up and no one was there, sign on the door stating they were closed due to power issues. It would have been nice if they emailed or texted us to let us know, since we actually had a reservation for our party. Fortunately, we were able to walk-in at another place further south on 14th.

    • UR is back

      Please tell me that you’re being sarcastic.

      • FridayGirl

        +1. It happens. If they didn’t have power, how were they supposed to email everyone? (I mean, I guess they could have done it on their personal cell phones, but really? Please keep in mind that all the restaurant employees for Provision, Kapnos, etc. lost their tips from a Friday evening/Saturday morning service. So that sucks for them too!)

      • Anonymous

        Half joking, but that’s the truth of the situation. It was no big deal, but it would have been nice to know from the restaurant before we all trekked over there. Their reservation system is software handled by a 3rd party (SeatMe), so they can definitely log in remotely and cancel their reservations for the day. Anyways, it’s a total #1stworldinconvenience and I do realize that the residents who had no power and the Pepco workers had to deal with much worse. But sympathy and hassle isn’t a zero sum game.

        • Shawz

          Agree, in the age of technology, a reservation system should have a 1-click “cancel all” function that automatically does this (at least for people who reserved online or gave a cell phone number). Not having it is legitimate bad customer service.

          • Anonymous

            This was exactly our scenario. I don’t expect hourly paid employees who are losing out on tips to handle it. But the managers who are salaried? They should definitely be on top of this and cancel the online reservations. That’s their friggin’ job.
            Regardless, I’m not going to leave feedback on Yelp or demand some sort of special treatment. But I do reserve the right to vent in this thread on PoPville :)

  • Neighborhood Resident

    Initial report said there was smoke coming from a manhole. Looking at the size of stuff they were staging and the holes they were digging it seems like they lost something big like a transformer down there though that is unclear why.

    • I think you’re right – I’m pretty sure it was related to a transformer blowing.

      • FridayGirl

        It was. I walked by about 15 minutes after it happened. It was the manhole right on the corner of the Eatonville space and it was very smokey. Lots of fire trucks, lots of Pepco, and lots of ambulances and firetrucks for people stuck in elevators.

        • UR is back

          I was told that there was corrosion caused by ?? that caused one or more transformers to explode. Again, very thankful to the pepco repairmen who not only worked all weekend in the heat but also answered our questions patiently. Hopefully there aren’t any other corroded parts down there…

  • FridayGirl

    “First, absolute shout out to Pepco & Pepco workers. There has been a large team in yellow safety vests all weekend, working around the clock, in long pants and horrible heat…”
    YES to this. I really wish this hadn’t happened but those Pepco workers deserve a big thank you for working in such heat — I’m sure they didn’t expect their weekends to be like that either!

  • D-C-0-9

    For the OP — Pepco has been posting very frequently via @PepcoConnect on Twitter, including the fact thta they brought in a second generator. You can set Twitter to notify you of new tweets from Pepco until they situation is resolved.


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