The past few days have been difficult for many residents, especially those of us who were without power for an extended period of time. Having lost my power for more than 48 hours, I can certainly understand the frustration so many residents are experiencing.
My staff and I have been working overtime to assist constituents with outages, downed trees and power lines, and unplowed streets. In my own Colesville neighborhood, as in many others across the County, we faced all of these obstacles. During and after the storm, I was in constant contact with PEPCO, DOT and Fire and Rescue officials to remain informed of their progress and apprise them of problems. I would like to express my gratitude to all the County employees who worked long hours to plow streets, handle emergencies and direct traffic at intersections, and to the residents who once again stepped in to help their neighbors.
Many residents have expressed outrage at PEPCO's response, and I agree that its performance is unacceptable and must be addressed. While the Council does not have any oversight over PEPCO, which is regulated by the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC), my colleagues and I pressed last year for a full investigation into the causes of our frequent outages and for some action to address them. In response, the PSC held hearings and has indicated its intent to hold PEPCO accountable.
In addition, my friend Councilmember Berliner helped draft legislation to be introduced by Delegate Brian Feldman, which would permit the PSC to impose fines for failing to meet strict reliability standards and would distribute those fines back to ratepayers. I firmly believe PEPCO must be held responsible for its performance, which is in the bottom quartile of energy utilities nationwide, and I wholeheartedly support this bill. On Saturday, Governor O'Malley sent a letter to PEPCO's Chairman expressing his support for this legislation as well. You may wish to contact your state legislators and ask them to vote for Delegate Feldman's bill.
As always, if you need assistance please contact
my office and one of my staff members will be happy to help.
Councilmember, District 4