Friday, February 11, 2011

Councilmember Nancy Floreen on Pepco

There's a lot going on when it comes to the efforts to get Pepco to improve its service reliability and communications, and it can be difficult to sort out all the moving pieces and the various players. It is important to understand that Pepco is regulated by the Public Service Commission, which is a State agency. While the County does not have any direct authority over Pepco, we have been strong advocates for reform.

Last year, we asked the PSC to open an investigation into Pepco, and that investigation (Case 9240) is in progress now. But wait, there's more, including a routine investigation of the January 26 snowstorm, pending recommendations from the County's Pepco Work Group and legislation at the State level. Here's what you should know right now:

Montgomery County Special Counsel on Utility Regulation

  • Montgomery County hired Stanley Balis, a nationally recognized attorney with more than 30 years specializing in utility regulation and related issues, to represent our interests in a number of cases coming before the Public Service Commission, including those listed here.

Montgomery County Pepco Work Group

  • The Pepco Work Group is comprised of community leaders who were appointed to investigate the reliability of Pepco's service in Montgomery County and formulate concrete steps necessary to improve that service. It works in close partnership with Special Counsel Balis. If you wrote to me, I forwarded your comments to the group. The Work Group's final recommendations will be sent to the Maryland Public Service Commission as part of Montgomery County's testimony in Case 9240. To weigh in, e-mail the Office of Consumer Protection or take the online survey.

Public Service Commission Case 9240 (investigation into Pepco reliability)

  • elected officials in front of fallen treeThe public comment period has been completed and included statements from Montgomery County elected officials in addition to County residents. The County's Pepco Work Group will file its report on behalf of our interests in this case.
  • An independent consultant will file a report on March 4.
  • Montgomery County will provide direct testimony on the consultant's report on May 6.
  • The PSC will hold an evidentiary hearing on June 16, 17, 20 and 21. The hearing is open to the public (although no further testimony will be taken), or you can follow it live online.
  • The date for a final ruling has not been determined.

Public Service Commission Case 9256 (investigation into January 26 snowstorm)

  • This is a routine investigation required for all power companies after a major storm.
  • A legislative hearing will be held on March 3. The hearing is open to the public (although no public testimony will be taken), or you can follow it live online.
  • The date for a final ruling has not been determined.

Public Service Commission Administrative Docket (RM 43)

  • This is a Rule Making action in which the PSC seeks comments on its proposed changes to the Code of Maryland Regulations to set standards for all electric utilities.
  • The County will submit testimony on this case, but no public testimony will be accepted.


Routine Complaints

While we work our way through these issues, remember this: when your power goes out, you must call Pepco every day so that they know the lights are still out. In the meantime, I will do everything I can to keep up the pressure on Pepco and the Public Service Commission, and I continue to welcome your input so let me know your thoughts.