- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 30, 2003

The round of thunderstorms yesterday caused more people to lose power in the Washington metropolitan area, slowing utility companies’ efforts to restore electricity to customers who have been without power since Tuesday.

Pepco, which supplies electrical power to all of the District and parts of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, had about 5,000 customers without power last night, with 1,500 new customers left without power after the storms yesterday, a company spokesperson said.

Montgomery County had 2,700 customers without power. Prince George’s County had 1,800, and the District had 500 as of last night, Pepco officials said.

The utility had restored power to the most of more than 200,000 customers who lost service since the first storm came through the area Tuesday afternoon, the spokesperson said.

“Restoration activities had been focused on large clusters of outages,” the spokesperson said. “Our main focus now is on small areas, which remain without service.”

Officials said 250 crews have been working nonstop since Tuesday to restore all downed lines. Pepco spokesman David Morehead has said the storm Tuesday was considered the worst summer storm in company history.

Pepco asked that customers without service turn off heavy appliances to avoid circuit overloads when power is restored. Those without power also were advised to leave on a light as an indicator that the line is back on.

As of last night, Dominion Virginia Power, which supplies electricity to most of Northern Virginia, had 539 customers without power, 165 of whom were in the Fairfax area, an unidentified company spokesperson said.

“We weren’t affected that much by [the] storm [yesterday],” said the spokesperson, who expected nearly all lines to be repaired by early this morning.

Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE), which supplies power to Baltimore city and Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Howard counties and parts of Prince George’s County, said all power outages from the most recent storms had been restored.

For customers concerned about the impending cleanup from the severe weather, Montgomery County officials said property owners don’t have to wait weeks for workers to remove storm debris from their yards. They can drop it off themselves at five collection sites in Bethesda, Silver Spring, Gaithersburg, Poolesville and Damascus.

Workers will need four to six weeks to pick up downed trees and branches from front yards, county officials said, but for a fee, residents can drop off limbs at one of the sites, which are open today and tomorrow until 5 p.m.

Montgomery County residents may call 240/777-ROAD (240/777-7623) for more information.

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