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Public Service Commission Regulates PEPCO

10:22 PM, Jul 11, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA)--Here's a follow-up to a story that is really firing up utility customers.

The Maryland Public Service Commission allows utilities, including Pepco, to bill its customers to make up for lost revenue during power outages.

After the violent weather came a storm of criticism-and now leaders of Maryland's Big 7 jurisdictions, including Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, are demanding change. They have sent a letter detailing their utility company concerns to the state commission that regulates them.

They want improved disclosure of outage locations, the prevention of future outages, including a study of the locations best suited for underground lines and a hard look at staffing levels during an emergency.

"You know there's a lot of damage to the system, there's a lot of poles and wires to put back up," said James Fakult of Potomac Edison.

Utility executives were grilled on WTOP Radio. Many customers are just learning what we reported: that Maryland utilities can charge customers for revenue lost during the outages--because they couldn't supply electricity.

"That's a shared cost across all customers," added Fakult.

"I thought I was paying for something I received, not for something I did not receive," said one customer.

"They're getting paid while regular citizens are losing out," said another customer. 

Pepco President Thomas Graham was on the phone.

"The billing stabilization does apply for the first 24 hours," he said. "And beyond that, it does not apply."

That fee will depend on the amount of electricity used by each customer.

One advocacy group estimates the cost to be less than a dollar, but it is the principle of charging for something customers never received that has infuriated so many of them.

Written by Andrea McCarren


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