Washington, DC, Area Power Outages

The Washington, DC, area was hit with a major storm on 2012 June 29, that caused many consumers to lose power for extended periods of time.  I asked some correspondents in the DC area to provide me with the number of hours they were without power, their utility, and their jurisdiction, sending the message to about 1200 people.  I received 30 responses from people served by three utilities in a variety of jurisdictions.  A 2.5% response rate is good for such surveys, but is likely to be biased.

I present the data in the following table.

 

 

The following is a cumulative distribution for PEPCo, including DC, Montgomery County, and a composite of the two jurisdictions.  I am the customer with only 9 hours of outage in the above data and on the following chart.

 

The following is a cumulative distribution for BG&E, VEPCo, and composite of the three utilities.

 

Both the VEPCo distribution and the composite distribution illustrate the concept of many customers coming back quickly and then a few customers who are off for a long time.  Utilities try to prioritize outage work to get the most customers restored as soon as possible, often being able to flip a switch to restore hundreds of customers at a time, once they know which lines are safe to re-energize.

Mark Lively

Utility Economic Engineer

 

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Mark Lively earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from MIT in 1969 and a MS in Management from MIT Sloan School in 1971. He worked for American Electric Power Service Corporation in New York City from 1971 to 1976 and at Ernst & Ernst, Ernst & Whinney, Ernst & Young in its Washington Utility Group from 1976 to 1991.

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