Anger replaced annoyance Tuesday as more than 110,000 Washingtonians faced their third day without power, many forced to fight through unwieldy, darkened intersections only to come home to spoiled milk and hot homes.

Pepco said most customers will see power restored by Thursday, but others will have to wait until Friday.

That's too late for some.

"Pepco is the worst of the worst," said Joe Casperone, owner of the Rockville restaurant Primo Italiano. "You can quote me on that."

He sat in his darkened restaurant Tuesday, exasperated because the residences above him, in the same Rockville Town Center building, have power. He said he threw out $10,000 worth of food Tuesday and estimated he is losing more than $3,000 a day in business. Pepco told him his power wouldn't be back until Thursday or Friday.

The Town Center area resembled a ghost town Tuesday afternoon, with handwritten "Closed. No Power" signs on the doors of business after business.

Carly Franklin of Rockville came to see a movie, only to find that the theater was out of power.

She said her electricity came back on at 2 a.m. Tuesday.

"It was just a pain in the butt. We couldn't wash clothes. All our food went bad in the refrigerator," she said.

The Montgomery County Council criticized Pepco's "unreliable" service during a meeting with Pepco Region President Thomas Graham.

"The economic dislocation is huge. If Montgomery County is the economic engine of the state and that engine is without power, we can't do our job," said Councilman Roger Berliner, D-Bethesda.

Pepco spokesman Bob Hainey said the utility had more than 400 people in the field working to clean up downed power lines Tuesday, including crews from out of state.

Drivers had to navigate darkened intersections, with 100 traffic signals still not working in Montgomery.

The District still had 35 locations needing tree clean-up Tuesday evening, down from more than 300 Sunday.

Baltimore Gas and Electric reported 959 still without power in central Maryland Tuesday evening, while Dominion Virginia Power restored power to all customers by noon Tuesday.

Next door to Primo Italiano, Deborah Simon, owner of Waygoose Fine Crafts, was more forgiving of Pepco than most.

"I'm frustrated, but I know they're working really hard," she said. "I just wish we had better information, but I know they don't really know either."

Examiner staff writer Hayley Peterson contributed to this report.


A prime example of Pepco's continuing problems with its power-outage hotline: Montgomery County Councilwoman Nancy Navarro called Pepco when her power went out Sunday. The automated hotline said her power would be turned back on Sept. 15 at 5 a.m.