The Maryland Public Service Commission wants to hear people’s experiences dealing with Pepco after thousands were left powerless for more than a week in the wake of the violent June 29 storm.
A public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Council Office Building in Rockville, the first of eight hearings the PSC has planned statewide in order to assess the response of power companies following the derecho.
At its peak, the storm caused power loss to more than 483,639 Pepco customers, . The utility company took nearly 10 days to fully restore power to all its customers, sparking public criticism from government leaders and lawmakers throughout the DC-metro region.
“We need to hear from the customers, from the rate payers, from the citizens about what their experience was,” Doug Nazarian, chairman of the Maryland Public Service Commission, told council members during a special council session on July 19. “For all the things companies can tell us, they can’t impart that to us and we need to have it.”
Full broadcast of the council’s special session is available on the County Council’s website.
Pepco’s recently released self-assessment largely defended its response to the outages.
“Did Pepco use maximum effort to restore power as quickly and safely as possible? Yes we did,” Thomas H. Graham, Pepco’s regional president said during the council’s special session in July, before the self-assessment was submitted to the PSC.
According to Graham, Pepco officials thought it was reasonable for customers to be frustrated, but said the company did the best it could.
“Is it possible to restore 483,000 in under a week? No utility that I’m aware of can recover that quickly from a catastrophic event of that magnitude,” Graham told council members.
As for the next step, Nazarian said the PSC will host legislative-style hearings on Sept. 13 and Sept. 14 in Baltimore and will also review storm reports submitted by the utility companies, testimony from hearings and written comments submitted to the PSC.
“What happens next depends on what we find,” Nazarian said.
If you go …
WHAT: Maryland Public Service Commission hosts public hearing on Pepco’s performance after the June 29 derecho storm
WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7
WHERE: Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. Third floor Council Hearing Room
MORE: The meeting will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). The broadcast also will be available via streaming through the county website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov.