It was good to see The Georgetown Current newspaper give prominent play to the recent power outage that hit the residents in and around Thirty First and P Streets, Dumbarton, O Street, and a few other Georgetown streets. As I said to neighbors, it was "deja vu all over again." And you get that, right? Right. If you've lived here long enough you have vivid memories of manhole cover explosions, followed by power outages, week after week.
One thing that did not come across in the story -- and it would be hard for a reporter to grasp this without being on the scene -- was the dedication of the Pepco street crews and the support they got from Georgetown residents. Maybe it was because we had no power, no TV or internet, and so the entertainment became standing in the street and to watch the work get done. But bonds were formed. We learned that the Pepco website and Pepco emergency number -- while basically useful -- was no match for the information we could get from the techs down in the manholes and digging up the street.
The best example of this was the second night of the power outage, when a half dozen of us stood there, toes practically at the edge of excavation, watching every little maneuver of pulling out old cable, feeding in new cable, splicing together new cable coming from opposite ends of the street. This was an arduous process, especially on an airless, hot, and humid night. We stood there and served as a cheerleading squad, and I think the Pepco workers appreciated our involvement.
According to the Current, Pepco officials called some higher up Georgetown residents to keep them posted, but for the rest of us -- who did not receive those kinds of calls -- it was street level information that was the most valuable currency. In the end, everything they told us played out as truth. And we were grateful.
I'm sorry I don't have any pictures of this moment, but as the second night wore on, the heat bearing down, we kept asking the crew if they wanted water. "No, thank you," they said. My guess is that's what they have to say. One of the neighbors on O Street went off to Safeway and returned with bags of frosty cold tall bottles of water. The workers twisted off the caps, upended the bottles, and gulped down the refreshing cold water.
Let's hope this doesn't happen again, or at least not anytime soon. The street crews told us there's still old and damaged cable down there. They are replacing as much as they can, but often it takes a crisis to get the attention needed. Let's hope, also, that Pepco gets its website more in gear with actual real time information. But failing that, go out in the street and support the work at hand. Talk to the workers. They were responsive. At one point I offered to help splice cable. Hehehe. No takers.