Power Failure Is A Complete Failure All Around
I just spent the past 73 hours without power in my house. In a blizzard. More if you count the 8 hours we lost power, and then it came back on for 8 hours, just to lose it again, for 73 hours, straight. And what I encountered during that time was a complete failure by our electric company to communicate any information as to what was going on or when we were going to be able to get our electricity back.
At first, it was ok. Sure, it was boring and cold and annoying. But I kept calling the outage line to be told by an automated machine they had no restoration times and I understood. We were in the middle of a blizzard. Snowpocalypse the DC area was calling it. So we light a fire and hunkered down and then I started tweeting on my iPhone.
I found lots of my friends didn't have power either. I found the Pepco twitter page, whose tweets went from the aggravating to the downright bizarre, like, if you don't have power, you should leave, while emergency personnel were telling everyone, WHITEOUT CONDITIONS, GET OFF THE ROAD. And every time I called the Pepco outage line, I never got a restoration time.
One by one I watched on twitter while everyone got their power back, but me, and my friend Amy. And after about 24 hours, when our streets had been plowed, we started calling hotels to discover that they were all filled by power outage refugees. The local power outage shelter wouldn't let us take our dog and I refused to leave him in the freezing cold. Luckily, my best friend's roads were passable, not great, but passable, and we loaded up the car and the dog and headed over there. I will be eternally grateful for the warmth she provided us because at this point we were simply, freezing. And I watched Pepco tweet what a great job they were doing.
While at my friend's I finally got a restoration time that put us at a full week without power, and we were slowly closing in at three days at my friend's house, with sick two year old twins. I felt as if I couldn't impose on my friend that long, and my parent's private road had recently been plowed. So after 2 days at my friend's (and one futile trip back to our house on icy roads when Pepco called and told us we had power and we didn't) we packed it up and went to my parent's, where they proceeded to lose power. They called Pepco, where they promptly, received no information.
Are we sensing a pattern here? We went home. We needed to check on the house anyway as our roof has been leaking (I know) and at this point, we were out of choices. As we pulled into the neighborhood, we noticed all of our neighbors huddled outside starring at A PEPCO TRUCK. I walked over and asked them how long. "It should be a few minutes." And, after 73 hours plus 8, it was.
We had about 14 hours of uninterrupted power when we lost it again for about 30 minutes, at which point I called Pepco again to be told, nothing, rudely. We had now lost power 3 times and they were being rude to me. They had no idea why we lost power again. Luckily it was restored rather quickly. And we are not out of the power woods yet. We still have high winds today and they say they may have more outages.
Look, I know the system was stressed by the recent storm and I was not the only person this happened to. But over 73 hours without power, a freezing 4 year old, a leaky roof, and NO ANSWERS, it is enough to make you go insane. Pepco is the only deal in town and there has to be some accountability and some change that comes from this. This cannot happen again. Pepco has to be able to answer questions when you call. At least give you a reasonable time frame for when you can have your power back on. Because just saying it will be a week to shut you up? Unacceptable.