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Posted at 2:01 PM ET, 02/ 2/2011

Md. lawmakers to hold hearing on storm outages

By John Wagner

Maryland lawmakers are planning to grill utility company representatives next week about why so many customers were left in the dark following last week's snowstorm.

The House of Delegates announced it will hold a hearing on Tuesday at which representatives of Pepco and other power companies are expected to testify.

Thumbnail image for Dereck Davis mug.jpg"The committee would like some clear answers as to what went wrong last week, particularly in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties," said Del. Dereck E. Davis (D-Prince George's), chairman of the House Economic Matters Committee, the panel that is staging the hearing. "It is unacceptable that so many residents were without power during last week's storm."

The hearing is the latest effort by Maryland officials to hold utility companies accountable in the wake of the outages.

On Monday, Gov. Martin O'Malley said he supports legislation that would impose fines on Pepco and other utilities that fall short of new state "reliability standards," including ones laying out how quickly power should be restored after snowstorms.

By John Wagner  | February 2, 2011; 2:01 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly, John Wagner  
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Next: O'Malley takes his message to Washington for third time in three days


So the Governor wants to fine Pepco for too many outages. Who exactly will end up paying those fines? The consumers. The only way the outage situation will improve is if Pepco's senior management has to pay the ultimate corporate price for these problems - i.e., losing their jobs. If the Governor really wants to improve reliability and not just grab some more money out of citizens' pockets (however indirectly the grab might be), then he should follow the money and see who the major shareholders in Pepco are. Putting pressure on the largest shareholders would probably have a better impact on reliability than a fine that just gets passed on to the ratepayers.

Posted by: eileeniciek | February 2, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

We lost power again for most of the night last night during a light drizzle of rain. I called Pepco to report the outage and when I entered my zip code, the automated message stated that Pepco does not service that zip code. If only.

Posted by: xf01 | February 2, 2011 5:33 PM | Report abuse

"On Monday, Gov. Martin O'Malley said he supports legislation that would impose fines on Pepco and other utilities that fall short of new state "reliability standards," including ones laying out how quickly power should be restored after snowstorms. "

ROFLMAO, JUST what Pepco customers need, a bunch of state legislators deciding how long it should take to restore downed lines.

My guess is that it takes 5 of them to change a light bulb. Scratch that, they would probably have someone change it for them.

Pepco customers think it's bad now..

Posted by: BEEPEE | February 3, 2011 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Good for the governor and the legislature on this. The bill should be written to ensure that penalities come from the bonuses of top execs and stockholder dividends before any costs are passed on to consumers. There should also be criminal penalities for the top execs in instances where people die or experience serious health events because of undue delays in restoring service (as caused by PEPCOs incompetence and desire to put profits over service). The bill should also create a clear and easy pathway for individual citizens and class action lawsuits to take PEPCO to court to recover losses and for punitive damages.

Maybe then PEPCO will realize that their customers have finally had enough of their crappy service.

Posted by: Poleman | February 3, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

And we, as voters, will decide how quickly we'll re-elect the same people. OR NOT. Our Maryland lawmakers will be JUDGED by how quickly they are able to produce results.

Not how quickly PEPCO is able to produce results. We need to hold our lawmakers accountable, since they are the ones who legislated us into being STUCK with this corrupt company!

Posted by: CountytaxpayingCHNII | February 3, 2011 11:19 PM | Report abuse

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