Gov. Martin O'Malley (Getty Images)
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WUSA) - Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley wants the order that allows Pepco and BGE billing for 24 hours of outage losses reviewed, according to a spokeswoman responding to a petition demanding he ouster state regulators.
The announcement comes a week after 9 Wants to Know exposed an energy conservation law, called the Bill Stabilization Adjustment (BSA), that enables utilities to bill for lost income from disconnected customers.
The Governor's appointees to the Public Service Commission (PSC) are responsible for regulating utilities and approved the law in a January decision that restricted reimbursement to the first day of the outage.
"The Governor would support review of the BSA by the PSC to determine if it should be modified even further," O'Malley spokeswoman Raquel Guillory said in a statement. "The PSC has opened a proceeding to investigate the most recent storm outages."
PSC Chairman Douglas Nazarian earns $150,000 a year, according to an agency spokeswoman. Commissioner Harold Williams, Commissioner Lawrence Brenner, Commissioner Kelly Speakes-Backman, and Commissioner Kevin Hughes earn $125,000 each.
Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Reimer has created an online petition calling on the governor to fire them all.
"A catastrophie," is how Reimer described state regulation. "And once again Pepco is able to charge residents for not having power."
It's not just the outage billing, he calls Pepco a non-performing utility.
He's blaming the regulator in charge, Maryland Public Service Commission Chairman Douglas Nazarian.
Nazarian signed the order approving billing customers to cover utility outage losses.
"Throw them out," Riemer said. "Let's throw out the PSC, let's throw out the top staff"
"Last December, the PSC fined Pepco a record breaking one million dollars for its failure to properly maintain a reliable electricity delivery system," Guillory said in the statement. "The PSC has opened a proceeding to investigate the most recent storm outages and has scheduled eight public hearings throughout the State to hear directly from ratepayers about their experiences."
The Public Service Commission did not respond to requests for comment.
The PSC Commissioner will be facing off with Riemer and other councilmembers Thursday at a hearing into the outage beginning at 12:30 at the Montgomery County Council Chambers.
If you want to be first to know about developments in efforts to overturn the order, follow Twitter.com/russptacek or Facebook.com/russptacek.
If you know about utility wrongdoing, government corruption or waste, e-mail 9 Wants to Know at firstname.lastname@example.org.