The next stage of the Maryland Public Service Commission's (PSC) investigation into Pepco's reliability played out in the Council chambers in Rockville last evening. Over 250 individuals and many state, county and local elected officials, in addition to Congressman Chris Van Hollen, appeared to testify before the Commission.
In my remarks
, I called on the Commission to establish a Renewed Ratepayer Compact
that would (1) ensure quality service; (2) insist on shareholder participation; and (3) hold Pepco accountable financially for providing good service.
Working with Delegate Brian Feldman, the Chair of our Montgomery County delegation, I have drafted legislation
to require the MPSC to establish reliability standards and to penalize Pepco if they fail to meet them. I was very gratified that Governor O'Malley announced his own support
for this approach yesterday as well.
We must hold Pepco accountable. This was expressed universally by almost all who testified last evening. Helma Goldmark, representing the Promenade Towers, relayed a story of a dentist whose offices are in the Promenade having to suspend dental surgery when the power went out stitching up his patient only to have to reopen the wounds when the power resumed later. She told us that these residents have a dream - that the Pepco reliability plan become a reality. Another resident told the Commission it wasn't outages -- it was OUTRAGES!
Bryant Folger, of the Folger-Pratt Companies, is developing the new Park Potomac town homes, condos, retail and office space along Rt. 270. They have experienced 22 separate outages since last October and the new Harris Teeter grocery store lost $100,000 worth of perishable foods when generators were insufficient to restore power. The economic losses caused by these extended outages for the county as a whole is almost impossible to calculate.
Last week, the Commission required Pepco to produce a list of documents and other information, and directed Pepco to work with the Commission's technical staff to develop a plan for an independent consultant to review, report, and make recommendations on Pepco's system reliability. After the Commission has an opportunity to review the Pepco documents, the Commission will set forth how the investigation will proceed from here on October 12, 2010.
The Commission has a lot of work to do and a lot of eyes making sure that when this investigation concludes, there is a plan in place that will assure you of the quality of service you expect and deserve.