BALTIMORE, Md. (WUSA) - A major ruling from Maryland's Pepco and BGE regulator means customers will no longer see bills for the time they're disconnected during outages.
Maryland's Governor, State Sen. Brian Frosh, Montgomery Council Councilmember Hans Riemer, Montgomery County consumer officials and angry consumers called on the Maryland Public Service Commission to review the billings shortly after 9 Wants To Know exposed the fees this summer.
The rule allowing the billing was called the Bill Stabilization Adjustment.
"The Public Service Commission considered it to be an unfair burden to
ratepayers," said Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection Director Eric Friedman about the ruling's meaning. "Montgomery County won the Bill Stabilization Adjustment (BSA)
When 9 Wants to Know began its inquiry, no one at the Public Service Commission, BGE, or Pepco could even explain how customers could be charged a service fee when they were receiving no service at all.
Shortly after 9 Wants to Know exposed the fees, the story gained traction on the Internet and with national media.
Even Russian television used clips of the 9 Wants to Know segment to poke fun at American capitalism.
Two separate Commission orders issued Friday revise the BSAs for Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, Delmarva Power and Light Company, PEPCO and the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative.
The question arose in the aftermath of the June 29 derecho storm, which caused extensive property damage and lost power for more than a million Maryland citizens. In the aftermath, customers complained about the BSA, which adjusts rates up or down, either allowing companies to collect shortages or crediting customers.
The Commission had revised the BSAs in January to exclude most storm-related outages from the BSA calculations, but went a step further Friday, excluding from the BSAs all sales lost after major outage events, including the first 24 hours.
The updated BSAs will preclude the companies from including any sales lost from the beginning of a major outage event until full restoration.