Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Gareth Croke: "extremely disappointed in Pepco's lack of communication"

See this Email thread originating with Pepco's Donna Cooper, Boundary Stone's Gareth Croke and then John Salatti.

From: John T. Salatti <>
To: Gareth Croke <
Cc:; Bacio Pizzeria, Boundary Stone Public House; Diton Pashaj; Grassroots Gourmet; Yoga District, Rajwinder P. Signh Nara (Bloomingdale Wine and Spirits); Red Hen, Matt Croke;; Michael Fine; Maurice Smith <>; Scott Roberts <>; VCG; "McDuffie, Kenyan (Council)" <>; Wanda Foster <
Sent: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 11:43 AM
Subject: Re: Bloomingdale Business District

Thank you, Gareth, for plainly stating what your experience has been like.  I only hope that as of today all the power problems are at an end.  But that said, let me add two other thoughts.

First, I concur with Gareth about filing claims with Pepco's claims department.  Indeed, I would suggest you all work together and include any businesses not on this e-mail chain that have been affected (perhaps the Bloomingdale Small Business Association can coordinate this effort).  Staying together gives you more clout and allows you to work toward a common goal.  Also, copies of any claims that you submit should be sent--as a group--to your elected reps (noted in the following paragraph and including Wanda Foster, your ANC) to enlist their help in getting your claims approved.  As we learned last year with DC Water, if the utility deals with you individually and without powerful support, it will often deny claims without a second thought.  Only after real pressure was brought to bear on DC Water did it reconsider how it would process claims.

Second, I note that this e-mail chain has grown to include a representative of the Public Service Commission, which oversees Pepco; our Councilmember, Kenyan McDuffie; and the Mayor himself.  I reach out to them and ask them to weigh in on this matter.  Although Pepco is a private company (albeit subject to the rules and regulations of the PSC) and not directly accountable to the District government, nevertheless, our elected officials have considerable influence over the workings of any utility.  So I look forward to their thoughts, insights, and interventions on behalf of our business community.

As ever, please keep me posted and let me know if I can assist you further.

John T. Salatti
(202) 986-2592
"Together, Building a Better Bloomingdale"

On Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 1:50 PM, Gareth Croke <> wrote:
Hello Donna, on behalf of one the businesses most affected by Pepco's recent outages, I'd like to say I'm extremely disappointed in the lack of communication or attempt to appease us during this time.  There was absolutely no discussion with me on when the best time was for my business to shut down until after I was hand delivered a notice last Thursday TELLING me WHEN you were shutting us down.  The delivery person handed the notice over and had me sign a sheet as if I were being served a subpoena.  Well played Pepco!  As you may or may not care about, we have lost thousands of dollars in product and tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue over the past week and a half.  Thankfully, I assumed Pepco would do absolutely nothing proactive in helping us out today, so I ordered my own dry ice.  It amazes me that the powers that be over there didn't recognize this as an ideal opportunity to (really inexpensively) offer some good will to the businesses that they have been killing for the past week and a half.  Thank you for the information about filing a claim.  I for one will be doing so and I hope my fellow business owners will do the same.  My fingers are crossed that your company does it right this time and we don't have to lose business for a sixth night.  

Gareth Croke
Co-Owner/General Manager
Boundary Stone Public House
116 Rhode Island Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20001

On Jul 29, 2013, at 1:15 PM, wrote:


On behalf of Pepco, I would like to express our commitment to resolving the reliability issues that customers have experienced in the Bloomingdale community. We understand our customers' frustrations and have developed a plan to prevent these occurrences.

As you know, as part of that plan, select customers will experience an outage from 10 p.m. tonight through 6 a.m. Tuesday morning to allow us to upgrade facilities in this area. In planning and preparing for this required work, we engaged in discussions with the local business community to identify the least disruptive time for this planned outage, while also understanding that any disruption negatively impacts our customers.

You inquired as to whether or not we would be able to provide dry ice or alternative refrigerated cooling for impacted business customers. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to provide this type of service. Should a customer be of the opinion that they have sustained a loss that is the responsibility of Pepco, they may file a claim by calling 202-872-2452. Claims Assistants are available between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

We regret the inconvenience and appreciate the community's understanding as we work to upgrade the facilities and improve reliability in your area.



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