Wednesday, May 22, 2013
A Montgomery County councilman pitches a plan as Pepco customers sound off.
Last year's derecho storm was the latest to highlight issues with Pepco reliability and communication. Last week, Montgomery County Councilman Roger Berliner proposed a "Utility 2.0" plan to improve electricity service. Patch users had something to say about Pepco getting a rate increase to pay for reliability improvements: Michael Smith said: "Why should Pepco increase it's rates AT ALL to pay for infrastructure? Each year they make over $100 MILLION dollars in pure profit and invest ZERO of it into the community." Arlene K. Polangin said: "Pepco needs to improve service BEFORE it gets a rate increase. Why should customers pay for poor service with a higher bill? The DERECHO = 6 days NO electricity and every little outage = no power in …
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
The new year looks like it will kick off chilly and dry.
- LOCAL CONNECTIONS
- Ben Gross
Tuesday, January 1
Twenty-twelve was a wild year for weather in the Washington metropolitan region. On June 29, the derecho terrorized the area, forcing President Obama to declare Montgomery County a disaster area. In the fall, while we were spared the major brunt, Hurricane Sandy caused widespread flooding, downed trees, food and supply shortages at local stores and numerous school, government and activity cancellations and postponements. Those two weather events may have been the most memorable, but according to WJLA's website, a number of weather records were set in 2012: How does the forecast for the start of 2013 look? Look for New Year's Eve temperatures in the mid-30s, with only a 20 percent chance of precipitation overnight. New Year's Day should…
Friday, October 26, 2012
The Maryland Public Service Commission today eliminated the storm bill stabilization 24-hour grace period.
Effectively immediately, Pepco and BGE customers will not be charged for sales lost during the first 24 hours of major storm power outages, by order of the Maryland Public Service Commission. Area residents this summer were outraged to find themselves charged for power during the weeklong outages caused by the June 29 derecho. The charges came as part of a Bill Stabilization Adjustment program, which allowed utilities to bill customers for the first 24 hours after a power outage, effectively charging customers for power when they have none. The program was designed to increase efficiency, according to the commission. Friday's orders, affecting Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, Delmarva Power and Light Company, Potomac Electric Power …
Monday, September 17, 2012
Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner pursues the idea of a public power system.
The question resurfaces: Should Montgomery County purchase Pepco's infrastructure and turn to public power options? The issue re-emerged this summer as hundreds of thousands of area residents endured a record heat wave without power following the June 29 derecho storm. Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner at the time revisited the idea of an option of a public power system, and on Thursday formally asked the county attorney, Marc Hansen, to review the idea. Hansen last year said the county would need special legislative permission. Another storm this month left 65,000 without power in the Washington area, and county lawmakers have been fielding complaints from business owners of thousands of dollars in lost business, …
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Maryland Public Service Commission calls a public hearing for Sept. 24 to examine "bill stabilization."
The Maryland Public Service Commission is asking the public to weigh in on whether utilities should be able to collect a fee to recoup losses from catastrophic events such as major power outages. The commission, which oversees utilities including Pepco and Baltimore Gas and Electric, will hold a public hearing Sept. 24 in Baltimore. The fee, imposed under a regulation known as bill stabilization adjustment, allows utilities to charge ratepayers for losses sustained during the first 24 hours of major outages. Following backlash from the public and local officials over Pepco’s response to the crippling June 29 storm, the fee drew outrage from customers who were out of power for days. More than 100 readers weighed in on a Patch story about …
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Days without power, air conditioning or answers had customers at a hearing on Tuesday calling for changes to the utility—and to the panel that regulates it.
Bearing photos, frustration and rage, wry humor, harrowing tales of surviving record heat and even poetry, Montgomery County residents railed against Pepco for more than four hours Tuesday night during a hearing before members of the state’s Public Service Commission. The hearing in Rockville was the first of eight that state utility regulators have scheduled around the state to hear from the public about power companies’ performance after the June 29 derecho. The storm left 483,639 Pepco customers without power, including 252,018 in Montgomery County and 158,210 in Prince George’s, the utility reported last month. About 150 of those customers attended Tuesday's hearing. Among those who testified was a multiple sclerosis sufferer who …
Monday, August 6, 2012
What was your Pepco experience after the June 29 derecho? The Maryland Public Service Commission wants to know.
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, Patch has reported. 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 …
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Damages in Montgomery were severe enough to mean local governments, and some non-profits, can qualify for federal assistance.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
President Obama Thursday declared a major disaster exists in six jurisdictions in Maryland, including Montgomery County, for the June 29 "derecho" that wreaked havoc, including knocking out power to hundreds of thousands in a major heat wave. The declaration means federal aid is available for state and local recovery efforts due to the storms, winds and aftermath from June 29-July 8. The funding is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency work and the repair or replacement of damaged facilities in the counties of Calvert, Charles, Kent, Montgomery, and St. Mary’s and the City of Baltimore, according to a White House statement. Federal money could reimburse up to 75 …
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Pepco's recently released report on outages following last month's storm is mainly in defense of the company's response.
Pepco has released a report largely defending its response to outages caused by last month’s derecho. According to the report, at its peak, the storm caused power loss to over 483,639 Pepco customers, including 252,018 in Montgomery County and 158,210 in Prince George’s. One week later, the report shows 4,411 Montgomery County Pepco customers were still without power, as were 424 Prince George’s customers. It took Pepco nearly 10 days to fully restore power to all its customers. That occurred at 4:30 a.m. on July 8, according to the report. Read the full report PDF on the right. In the self-assessment, Pepco defends its response, writing that forecasts did not predict that the storm would hit the area hard, but “when the Derecho …
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
The Montgomery County Police Department worked more than 2,000 overtime hours after the June 29 storm and overtime costs for the county are over $100,000, The Gazette reported.
Though officials say they’re still totaling Montgomery County’s storm costs, the Gazette reported that overtime costs alone for the county police department have exceeded $100,000. Spokesperson Angela Cruz told the Gazette that police had logged more than 2,111 overtime hours and of those hours, 310 were “comp hours earned” overtime, which means that employees took compensation in the form of hours earned, as opposed to overtime pay. According to the Gazette, overtime has cost the county $102,843.69 thus far and overtime pay for the Fire and Rescue Service response was $30,000. Though Pepco has received harsh criticism and negative feedback from both residents and officials for its response time to the storm’s outages, the Gazette …