Sunday, July 28, 2013

John Salatti`s Emails to Pepco regarding the current power outages and their negative impacts on Bloomingdale businesses

From: dcooper @ <>
To: John T. Salatti <>
Gareth Croke, Boundary Stone Public House, Matt Croke, Sebastian Zutant, Diton Pashaj, Grassroots Gourmet, Rajwinder P. Signh Nara, Yoga District, Bacio Pizzeria, Maurice Smith , Michael Fine, VCG
Sent: Saturday, July 27, 2013 8:34 PM
Subject: Re: Bloomingdale Business District


I will share the concerns and views outlined in this e-mail and will follow-up.


  From: John T. Salatti []
  Sent: 07/27/2013 07:51 PM AST
  To: Donna Cooper
  Cc: Gareth Croke, Boundary Stone Public House, Matt Croke, Sebastian Zutant, Diton Pashaj, Grassroots Gourmet, Rajwinder P. Signh Nara, Yoga District, Bacio Pizzeria, Maurice Smith , Michael Fine; VCG <>

  Subject: Re: Bloomingdale Business District

Dear Donna,

Thank you for keeping the line of communication open to the these business owners and to residents.  In that vein and because they are all gathered here under one roof so to speak, let me keep the conversation going a little longer.

Although Pepco has tried to help limit the burden on businesses, they have been damaged without question.  By some estimates, the businesses as a group have taken a $30,000 hit over the past two weeks.  
And much of that came as Pepco made unilateral decisions to shut off power without first consulting with those entities that would sorely affected.  For example, I have learned that the Red Hen was closed for 2 two nights during the week it received a glowing review in the Post; such reviews usually result in big increases in reservations and sittings.  But what the Hen get instead was poor Yelp reviews because the owners had to essentially toss people out.  Some literally mid-dinner.  In another instance, because of Pepco`s decisions to turn on and off power without a full collaboration with the owners, one thriving business has lost major equipment, lost inventory, lost business, and lost employee wages.  And while the owners have told me that Pepco has come around, in the face of the losses, many avoidable, no one offered any help, no assistance at all truthfully.

So I`m probably soft pedaling it a bit, Donna, when I say that business owners are disappointed in Pepco`s performance during this whole situation.  After all, the power outages that initially occurred and the subsequent work that has needed to be done was all foreseeable.  As the business owners relay to me, all their plans had to be approved by DCRA and Pepco.  And yet Pepco apparently made no plans or was dilatory in implementing those plans until the system broke down.  So their first question is what is the point of going through the exquisitely painful process of getting DCRA and Pepco signoffs only to be left at the mercy of an power grid that Pepco had every reason to know was not up to the task.  And after last summer's electrical debacle on V & W Streets, the business owners would have thought that Pepco would have been a bit more diligent, given that Bloomingdale has added three more businesses since that failure of the local grid.

Because of Pepco`s decisions and actions in this situation totally apart from the age or capacity of the grid directly resulted in damage both in finances and reputation to Bloomingdale's businesses, I have to renew my earlier request for Pepco to pay for dry ice for any business that could use or 
rent a couple of refrigerated trucks so they can keep their products from spoiling.  At this stage some form of compensation should also be available.

Donna, I realize that Pepco is not responsible for compensating for all instances of losses due to power failures.  But in this instance, Pepco`s own actions or inactions are clearly the reason for most
 of losses suffered.  In addition, these businesses are cornerstones of the neighborhood and have been vital partners in Bloomingdale`s ongoing revitalization. Therefore, I believe Pepco needs to step up and do more than simply come by businesses and let owners know when the next period of hardship will come upon them.

I also realize that this decision may not be one you can make (and let me be clear that as usual your role in this matter has been exceptional).  If so, please refer me to the right party and I`ll press my case with that person.

Thank you for staying with us and keeping us all in the loop.


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

On Fri, Jul 26, 2013 at 8:03 PM, <> wrote:

We made contact with the businesses today (door-to-door). Calls were also made directly to all affected customers (yesterday and today). The individual businesses should feel free to e-mail me with any additional questions.



From:        "John T. Salatti" <> 
To:        Donna Cooper <>, 
Cc:        Gareth Croke, Boundary Stone Public House, Matt Croke, Sebastian Zutant, Diton Pashaj, Grassroots Gourmet, Rajwinder P. Signh Nara, Yoga District, Bacio Pizzeria, Maurice Smith <, Michael Fine
Date:        07/25/2013 06:48 PM
Subject:        Bloomingdale Business District

Hi, Donna,

I`ve heard about the various outages planned and unplanned around the heart of the Bloomingdale Business District that have occurred over the last week or two. So I spent part of today speaking with a couple of the business owners and have really gotten a clearer picture of just how painful these losses of power have been, especially when a number of them have been planned outages by Pepco.  Based on those conversations, although I know you and others from Pepco have been out to check with the business owners, I write to ask you if Pepco can take another crack at trying to find a way to do the work that needs to be done without creating the financial hardships that have been foisted on these entrepreneurs.

Here are just a few of the things I learned today:

--business owners have been told one time for when an outage was supposed to start; then a short time later, that time is made earlier; and then the outage actually started at yet a third time.

--In the midst of this whipsawing of time, Pepco was unwilling to allow these businesses, which were operating in full swing, a little more time to serve their customers, causing tremendous loss of money to these businesses, even though the outage was something totally under Pepco`s control.

--Most disconcerting to many of us, Pepco crews did not and presumably do not know for sure who will lose power when they ``throw the switch.``  For example (there are others), one owner was told his power was about to go out and he frantically made preparations to deal with that, only to find a couple of hours later that his power did not go off when the outage was put in place.

--Pepco may be choosing to do some of the work in the late night hours (from 10:00 p.m. onward), which limits some impacts on business, but three caveats.   First, most of these businesses do their amount of business from 3:00 a.m. to about 11:00 a.m.  Second, some of them do their highest grossing hours between 10:00 p.m. and midnight.  Third, even if they are not operating during the outage hours, the long length of time of the outage is so long that all of these businesses have lost thousands of dollars of perishable inventory.  These food-based business can`t operate like I can as a homeowner where I just leave my refrigerator or freezer shut for the 8 to 10 hours of the outage and presume my food supplies will be okay.  By Department of Health regulations, they can't do that and thus must discard much of what you or I would likely just keep using.  So the length of the outages needs to be shorter so that the businesses do not run afoul of Health regulations and lose still more money.

--Initially, these owners (and some residents) were given little or no notice of these planned outages.  That has changed apparently with another outage already scheduled for Monday.  But that lack of planning does not speak well for Pepco.  Although the grid may be a wee bit more taxed in that very area right now than it was two years ago, Pepco has known when everyone of these businesses came on line and therefore has had ample notice of possible strain on the grid and the need to address that issue.

So again, although I am aware that you and others from Pepco have been out to let owners know some things about the problems, I ask that you set a time when you can meet with these owners together and devise some strategy that puts more emphasis on relieving the burdens placed on these businesses while the agency makes upgrades that all agree are needed and will benefit everyone in the long run.  The key here is that we don't want to strengthen our local grid but destroy thriving businesses in the process.  I have copied almost every business in the Bloomingdale Central Business District so that you can communicate with almost all of them directly.  [Please note that having a translator available for the owners of Aroi Thai would be really helpful.]

As ever, Donna, you know I appreciate your willingness to reach out and work with us in the community.  So I thank you in advance for your help.
John T. Salatti
(202) 986-2592

Together, Building a Better Bloomingdale 

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