Md. Lawmakers to Push Utility Standards

By Brandon Benavides
|  Tuesday, Feb 1, 2011  |  Updated 3:30 PM EDT
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Pepco is taking no chances with the weather, keeping out-of-state crews in the area.

Pepco is taking no chances with the weather, keeping out-of-state crews in the area.

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Some Maryland lawmakers want to fine utility companies that are not reliable.

They will introduce new legislation after thousands of frustrated Pepco customers were without power for days in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
 
Delegate Brian Feldman, D-Montgomery, said the measure would direct the state's Public Service Commission to establish specific reliability standards for Maryland electric companies.
 
"This is not just about residential ratepayers. This is about our economy. It's about businesses," Feldman said. "The simple fact is that in this region, which prides itself on being a high-tech corridor, we shouldn't lag behind Third World nations when it comes to electricity reliability."
 
The bill also will include penalties for utilities that don't meet the standards. The fines would be directed back to customers.
 
The legislation is being drafted as a joint bill with Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration.
 
The move comes after O’Malley's letter to Pepco’s CEO demanding answers for the latest power outages from last week’s winter storm.

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