County Councilman Hans Riemer (D-At large) of Silver Spring is calling on Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) to replace members of the Maryland Public Service Commission, the state regulatory body that oversees Pepco and Baltimore Gas and Electric.
Riemer has launched a petition at a MoveOn.org-sponsored website, The Gazette reports. The petition comes in the wake of mounting frustration with Pepco after the June 29 derecho storm, which left widespread power outages and tens of thousands of people in the heat and dark for days.
Nearly 2,400 have signed on to the petition since it launched Friday at noon, Riemer said Monday night, speaking at a meeting of the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board. By Tuesday morning, nearly 2,700 had signed on.
“It’s time for the governor to act and replace those PSC members and give us a regulatory agency that will get the job done,” Riemer told the citizens advisory board.
Maryland Public Service Commission chairman Douglas Nazarian told The Washington Post this month that regulators “did not have a sense that Pepco stacked up that poorly with other companies” and should have realized sooner that Pepco’s performance was seriously lacking.
Regulators asked Pepco two years ago how its performance in keeping the lights on and restoring power measured up against its peers, The Gazette reports.
Analyses have shown Pepco ranked near the bottom nationally.
“Pepco has been in the bottom quartile for years, and that our own regulatory agency didn’t know is a stunning, stunning admission of failure,” Riemer said Monday.
In response, O’Malley’s office has released this statement, according to WTOP:
"While the Governor understands the frustration and anger of those citizens and businesses that have suffered repeated and prolonged outages, he reminds everyone of both the steps that have been taken in the recent past to hold utility companies liable and the deliberative process currently underway to evaluate, based on the data, the performance of the utilities' during the recent derecho outage."
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