The failure of PEPCO

It’s the perfect summer night to be lulled to sleep by nature.

Outside my window, I can hear light rain drops plunk gently off plump green leaves. Frogs whirring their mating calls.

Except, it’s not a perfect summer night.

It’s the worst night the DC Metro area has had in … as long as anyone can remember.

Mixed with that calm and peace of the summer orchestra is the ear-splitting buzz of a chainsaw, the hum of generators. The fresh smell of rain is replaced by gasoline that hangs thick in the humid June night.

Only a few hours earlier, my parents had warned me we were getting a major storm from Chicago. A derecho (basically a tidal wave of wind and storms that are rare).

A radar look at the derecho storm that hit Maryland

Then, as the sun set and the crickets took over, the wind picked up. Rushing across the landscape at 90 mph, the powerful wind carved a path of destruction. Transformers blew. Thick, old trees were uprooted. Trampolines (yes, trampolines) were tossed into the middle of the street. Like a tornado, but without the quickness.

And, the night sky glowed almost a continuous pale blue from electricity cutting into it.

I was inside for most of it, looking out the window as the lightning splashed across the sky. From my safe confines, I didn’t hear the wind whip outside. I didn’t hear the cracking of branches and the bangs when they hit the ground.

As I drove home after the storm, a graveyard of trees littered the streets. Barely noticeable until on them, oncoming cars would flash their lights in warning.

When I pulled into my neighborhood, I couldn’t even get to my house because a huge portion of tree was splayed across the road.

This storm … it’s serious.

The aftermath of the storm damage in Maryland
The spot my car would have been parked …
Trees broken from the derecho storm damage in Maryland
An old tree, that was one full and towering, is splintered from the extreme wind gusts.
More storm damage from the derecho in Maryland
Nearly an entire tree rests on the ground after the storm.

PEPCO, our power supplier, only manages to supply power back to half of our neighborhood. Within 48 hours after the storm. Us? We aren’t nearly as lucky.

For six days, there is no power. My parents suffer more than I do. I hightail it to friends houses to stay cool and panic about the projects I have to do and the lack of power. There’s little cell service. Internet is down. Cable is down. It’s hot. It’s humid. People are cranky and mean.

The line at McDonald's after the derecho
The only place open for food in a 10-mile radius? McDonald’s. This line took about 45 minutes.
A wine tasting during the power outage at Safeway
A day after the storm, powered by backup generators, Safeway taps into our boredom and a distributor comes in to do a wine sampling.

My neighborhood is one of the last to have power restored.

When it comes on, I feel relieved. Stressed at the amount of work I have to do before I leave America … in five days. But happy to have my house back and time with my family. Home.

Published by dtravelsround

Awakening the soul while traveling ... a story of being on the cusp of adulthood.

8 thoughts on “The failure of PEPCO

  1. Six days without power? Crazy. I think I was asleep the whole night when the storm came through here and fortunately it didn’t cause as much damage. Maybe the spotty power is good preparation for when you go back abroad?


    1. My dad slept through the storm! So far, the power has only gone out once in Thailand. And it was back up in an hour. During which time I simply was downstairs having a beer. 🙂


    1. It was rough, but ended well. Power back on for the last few days! I am so glad my car wasn’t parked under that tree. I would have been so angry!!


  2. Wow, 6 days!? I remember when a crazy storm like this blew through Philadelphia when I was a kid and we lost power for like 3 days and I wanted to kill myself with no AC!


    1. Yeah, six days. Fortunately, I had a good friend that let me live with her for those days. It was just a bummer because I had really wanted to spend time with my family, but everyone was miserable and hot. No AC in the dead of summer heat wave? HORRID.


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