Pepco and its sister companies have committed about 175 employees to assist in the restoration of electric service in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
About 56 linemen, supervisors and support personnel along with trucks and equipment left Thursday morning for the approximately 1100-mile journey. This assignment is indefinite because utilities in the affected region are still assessing the damage to their systems and have not determined how long these employees' services will be needed.
Those leaving Thursday were in addition to about 120 contract personnel sent earlier this week to an Atlanta area staging center for assignment to various damage areas.
This initiative has been coordinated with several mutual assistance groups of which Pepco, Delmarva Power and Atlantic City Electric, subsidiaries of Pepco Holdings Inc., are members. Under the mutual assistance arrangement, member utilities help other utilities recover from disasters.
"This is a humanitarian crisis on a massive scale and we're just grateful we can send our crews to help in the recovery," said Mike Maxwell, PHI vice president for Emergency Preparedness. "The Gulf Coast utilities came to our aid during Hurricane Isabel and we will do the same for them."
Maxwell said the second wave of assistance is being sent to Mississippi after coordinating with other utilities in this region. "We are confident that enough resources are available within the region to respond to our customers' needs if we are impacted by a significant storm," he added.
Pepco continues to monitor the progress of the recovery from this natural disaster. Katrina has caused catastrophic destruction along the Gulf Coast and left an estimated 2 million customers without power.