Pepco workers restoring power but residents want more

Pepco crews working in Bethesda. (Photo: Brad Bell)

In the Wingate neighborhood of Bethesda, it’s day three without electricity. Huge trees remain where they fell on power lines and those who live here are getting frustrated.

One resident, Colleen Gibson, says she hasn’t seen a Pepco truck in the area.

Monday afternoon D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray joined the chorus blasting Pepco.

“Pepco's pace at restoring power, to me anyway, is unacceptable and the speed of their response has been disappointing,” Gray says. “How many times have we been through this before?”

The crews actually out working on the damage see it differently. ABC7 shadowed a team of Pepco contractors replacing a line of snapped poles and downed lines. They've been on the job since early Saturday morning. They aren’t allowed to speak on camera but one veteran lineman has plenty to say as long as we don't identify him.

“People just don't understand what us as a lineman out here go through,” the worker says.

He's on his third straight 16 hour day. His task involves replacing a row of poles and the high voltage transmission lines they carry. All in a space so tight only a truck at a time can squeeze in. When the job is done, he and the crew will move on to another.

He does admit that manpower seems in short supply and there is always a delay in getting out of town crews in after weather emergencies. And on the job, ABC7 witnessed a glitch when a replacement pole turned out to be 10 feet too short. In the area of Bethesda, resident watching the work say they're sympathetic.

“Been working 18 hour days,” says Helen Wood. “They’re very tired. They’re working very hard.”