Public Service Commission Orders Utility Improvements

The Maryland Public Service Commission issued an order on Wednesday directing electricity companies to improve service reliability and resiliency.

Utility companies in Maryland will need to beef up their efforts to improve electricity service reliability and resiliency, according to an order issued by the Maryland Public Service Commission on Wednesday, Feb. 27.

The order (No. 85385) requires utility providers like Pepco to do the following:

  • Figure out what needs to be done to restore electricity service to a minimum of 95 percent of customers within 50 hours after an outage, with a focus on customers who may need electricity due to special medical needs.
  • Distribute information to customers as soon as it is available during electricity outages, and update that information regularly. 
  • Analyze staffing to determine if there are enough trained personnel on staff or available through contractors or mutual assistance.
  • File plans (by May 31, 2013) outlining measures that could be completed in the next five years to accelerate reliability improvements to the distribution system, along with cost and benefit analyses for each measure. 
  • Complete more detailed studies considering appropriate standards for distribution system resistance and resilience, and submit (by Aug. 30, 2013) studies to determine what needs to be done in order to reduce the number and duration of service interruptions after a major electricity outage.
  • Submit a report (by March 29, 2013) on any improvements made to communications systems since the June 29, 2012 derecho.
  • Submit another report (by May 31, 2013) on any further improvements planned, along with a timetable for completing the improvements.
  • Participate in work group sessions with commission staff.

Pepco has 534,601 electricity customers in Maryland, and 410,679 (77 percent) of them were without power at the peak of electricity outages after the derecho—double the number of outages after Hurricane Irene, according to the commission's order.

President Obama even declared that six jurisdictions in Maryland, including Montgomery County, were part of a major disaster area after the derecho, which occurred during a heat wave.

On June 9, Montgomery County Council Member Roger Berliner lambasted Pepco for its response to the derecho, saying that "[our] residents have had enough. ... While this was a big storm and outages are to be expected, Pepco’s performance—on every level—was unacceptable. The length of the outages. The appalling communications. The computer glitches and data discrepancies. The list can go on and on," Potomac Patch reported.

Eight public hearings were held around the state at which electricity consumers could voice their frustrations about the lack of electricity for several days () at the end of June and beginning of July, Rockville Patch reported:

Among those who testified was a multiple sclerosis sufferer who said he and his wife ran up four days of hotel and meal expenses as they sought relief from triple-digit temperatures, which exacerbated his condition.

In related news, Pepco asked for a $60.8 million rate increase last November, Patch reported. Last July, the Maryland Public Service Commission approved $18 million of a $60 million rate increase request made by Pepco earlier in the year, Patch reported.

Joe Galvagna February 28, 2013 at 02:14 PM
Yea more studies you go commission. I think.what we need is a new commission. Who does not know Pepco and others suck DA. No matter what the bad weather is electricity goes out. Just give everyone a generator, study done. You people are fools tell utility companies fix your problems or else. Stop the courting and make something happen. You county people just keep spinning your wheels and nothing gets done. Lets have a study done to see why your so incompetent now that would be easy to torture out. Enough trips to other countries, conferences, parties, overtime, recruiting none paying residents do some work for once. How about you figure out utility problem of you get no pay until problem solved. Think about how much we could save there nothing ever gets accomplished in County Council. Too many people in County with brain damage. Too many liberals. Get to work be on time or your fired.
patty vogel February 28, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Knee jerk reaction to the power outage is to cut every tree down in Kesington, Silver Spring and Chevy Chase. While you were sleeping MoCo, every tree was cut down. Take a look at St.Pauls street, Dupont, PlyersMill Road, Asphuldh trucks everywhere.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »