The most hated company in America had a rough summer. The derecho storm knocked out power for 483,689 Pepco customers in D.C. and Maryland at peak, for an average outage of 26 hours. That led the mayor to convene a task force to explore the possibility of burying the city’s power lines. But when the task force met at the Wilson Building, nearly 200 protesters showed up, wielding a giant inflatable pig with the words “Pepco is greedy” across its chest and chanting “zero for Pepco” outside the hearing room in protest of any move that would mean more revenue for the power company.
Miraculously, and completely unexpectedly, Pepco got a helping hand from a guardian angel named Sandy. The hurricane devastated New York and New Jersey, but it largely passed D.C. by. Only 41,000 Pepco customers lost power, and by morning most of them had their lights back on. Which meant the utility easily surpassed everyone’s low expectations. For the first time in most people’s memory, Pepco was showered with praise.