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Fire Me, Please

The embattled chairman of the Public Service Commission Kenneth D. Schisler filed a lawsuit yesterday to try to save his job and those of his fellow commissioners who oversee electricity rates throughout the state. But one of the commissioners is taking steps today to tell legislators to go ahead and fire him.

Commissioner Harold Williams - the lone appointee of former governor Parris N. Glendening (D) - said he's filing a letter with the Baltimore City Circuit Court today to make clear he wants no part of the PSC's lawsuit. The legal challenge responds to legislation passed over Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.'s (R) veto that fires the members of the PSC and temporarily reduces a 72 percent rate increase to 15 percent.

That Williams is at odds with his colleagues is not surprising. The other commissioners were appointed by Ehrlich who is supportive of Schisler's lawsuit.

But Williams said, "A law was passed and I'm going to honor what they put forward."

Even so, Williams wasn't shy about expressing his interest in staying on the commission. He's hoping his name shows up on the list legislative leaders present to Ehrlich by July 1.

"I would still love to serve but not under these conditions," Williams said.

By Ann Marimow  |  June 27, 2006; 6:45 AM ET
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Posted by: wilaker | June 27, 2006 10:00 AM | Report abuse

What's intersting about Schisler is that he isn't interesting in any fight over the rest of the bill - namely, the part that stops the 72% increase.

Now's he's suing because a part of that same law is going to most likely replace him.

So he's suing to defend his job, but not to defend the job he did.

Posted by: corbett | June 27, 2006 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Utilities poles carrying three types of services to the public should NOT be managed by the BGE utility company which then allows telephone and television lines on its poles. The State should assume the role.

Owners of land having to give easements have been historically disadvantaged by the imposed Easement Deed which is that strip of land that targetted owners have no rights to; but having to pay property tax on and having to tidy up after the three companies leave debris and cut down trees after each visit.

I have been having problems with their highhandedness over their claimed easement right which is more akin to vandalism and trespassing. The person described as the BGE legistative representative who came to reassert the Easement Deed which is dated 1938, handed me a caller's card under the name of Constellation.I had understood that the distribution grid was owned by BGE while Constellation was the supplier. Now are they apparently merged to earn big bugs for the CEO's coffers? So much for deregulation.

The Public Service Commission could do us a real service by taking over and manage the distribution grid. The disadvantaged owners, in the name of compulsory contribution to the community should be compensated for the loss of use of their land and the inconvenience; with,say, an adjustment of their property tax.

Alternatively, with the windfall profits expected to go to Constellation and co, they should be required to invest for the future; put the grid underground.

Meanwhile take a look at the coming trend when more products are being offered by Verizon. In recent years the telephone lines have multiplied both in diameter of the cables and the numbers of heavy cables and connector boxes. The skyline is being obstructed and the weight is adding increasing burden on the poles as to be disproportionate.

If deregulation means fair competition among the different communications providers, television and telephone have no business to be on my land, getting free
easement while their competitors, wireless and cellphones do not.

The Public Service Commission should review and revise the provisions in old deeds. My 1938 Deed does not provide for television lines. Television did not even exist.

Who really looks after welfare of the public land owners against the monopolies?

Posted by: Peter Kou | June 27, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse

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