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Commissioners Outraged at Possibility of BGE, Pepco Billing for Lost Income During Storm

Commissioner Haven Shoemaker said people who were without power shouldn't have to pay a fee to BGE and Pepco.

Carroll County Commissioner Haven Shoemaker said he was outraged after to customers who were without power for up to a week .

"That is outrageous, that is so absurd," Shoemaker said in a recent board of commissioners meeting. "Those people who were without power in the 100 degree heat, they’re gonna get a bill for BGE and Pepco’s lost profits."

Do you think the commissioners are right to be outraged? Tell us in comments.

According to a county news release, Commissioners Shoemaker and Doug Howard sent a letter to the Public Service Commission (PSC) asking that it "use extreme discretion in reviewing the billing allowed as a result of this event and not grant any waivers to the utilities to allow them to recover additional costs from customers who experienced power outages."

The letter also requests that the PSC "work with the utilities to improve communication during outages, including providing specific outage locations to emergency personnel to ensure the welfare of local residents effected by the outage, to direct the power companies to increase their efforts to bury power lines in order to prevent future outages due to downed trees and to examine staffing levels and long-term maintenance programs to ensure Marylanders have a safe, modern and resilient power delivery system."

Regulations issued in January of this year allow the public power utilities operating in Maryland to charge customers during power outages for one day of service, according to the news release.

Commissioner Shoemaker said “there is no reason that customers should have to pay for service that they don’t receive. This is absurd."

 

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David J Iacono July 17, 2012 at 12:48 PM
The campaign contributions from BGE to both parties is really paying off.
SOUTHWESTMINSTER July 17, 2012 at 03:58 PM
In 2007, the Maryland Public Service Commission approved the decoupling proposal (“Bill Stabilization Adjustment Rider”) of the Potomac Electric Power Company (Pepco). Similar to the approach adopted for BGE, it is a full decoupling, revenue-per-customer program. Adjustments are made monthly, capped at ten percent, with any excess carried over to a future period. In recognition of the reduced risks that Pepco would face, the Commission lowered the company’s otherwise allowed return on equity by 50 basis points. It also approved a similar decoupling proposal for Delmarva Power (which, like Pepco, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pepco Holdings, Inc.).
SOUTHWESTMINSTER July 17, 2012 at 04:07 PM
http://webapp.psc.state.md.us/intranet/Reports/SB%20692%20Report.pdf This is a link to the latest report from MPSC.
jag July 17, 2012 at 04:38 PM
And what is their "outrage" going to do for me? Nothing!!!! Tell us what our elected officials in Annapolis plan to due if these charges come true!!!
watchingfive July 17, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Remind me to issue a press release next time I'm outraged about something or want to brag on myself. Never realized how much ego politicians have, even at the lowest levels.
Buck Harmon July 18, 2012 at 12:01 AM
I think everyone has a right to be upset about this...who's going to do something about it. It makes no sense to blow a gasket with no follow up.....looks like Shoemaker blew his gasket....curious to see the follow up..
watchingfive July 18, 2012 at 01:24 AM
It's much ado about nothing. You only pay for the energy you use, so if you were without power you didn't use energy. You normally pay a distribution charge as well, but that is capped during a power outage to one day only. There was a lot of noise over this issue after the power came back on, but most of it is just that. As for the commissioners telling the PSC to make the utility companies bury lines, I've read estimates of the cost of that, which will be passed on to customers. So the commissioners are basically advocating higher rates for us. I get it - it would be better to have more lines buried, but even that will not totally eliminate power outages. And like everything else, including storm repairs, there is a cost associated with it.
L Collette July 18, 2012 at 02:47 PM
What you havent heard, and it doesn't make it right, is that consumers will pay pennies per customer. However, 1.2 million BGE customers multiplied by pennies a piece ....sure I'd take it.
Cat July 19, 2012 at 01:44 PM
We need to do things smarter. ANY fees if they happen should go directly to paying to dig lines underground. I know its expensive but just like with an elephant - you have to start a bite at a time. Start laying lines where they have the most expenses each year!
Buck Harmon July 19, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Tangent statement JoAnn...
Buck Harmon July 19, 2012 at 02:01 PM
I agree Cat, proper maintenance of our antiquated electric grid system should include replacement at a steady pace....problem is , it's massive and will cost everyone that relies on it to fix it lots of money....solar solutions are hopefully going to lessen the burden on the system. Doesn't matter which fossil fuel is burnt if the grid can't keep up with the delivery.
Susan Coughenour July 22, 2012 at 01:47 PM
It's not BGE'S fault the storm happened. It's not BGE's fault the amout of people with out owner due to mother nature. Too many things are taken for granted! Think of all those families of the BGE workers that were missing their husband, daddy, mommy, wife and so on while they were working day in and day out in the 100 plus some temputares. So many people sitting around complaining about no electricity in the heat, how about those BGE employees working their butts off to repair something that was out of their ccontrol? Why shouldn't we pay our share for the outages? Think of how much they spent to have our electricity back! Over time for their employees, workers brought in from out of state, Ect. Do you think all those employees had electric in their homes? I bet not. Hello, people wake up, things happen that are out of control life's not always fair, or free! Selfish is my opion if you are in willing to pay. Yes electricity is a service, however after all it's a service you choose.

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