Should Montgomery County Create Its Own Power Company?

Suggestion to get rid of Pepco

By Tom Sherwood
|  Friday, Aug 10, 2012  |  Updated 9:31 PM EDT
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Tom Sherwood reports on a Montgomery County lawmaker's solution to Pepco's storm response.

Tom Sherwood

Tom Sherwood reports on a Montgomery County lawmaker's solution to Pepco's storm response.

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A Montgomery County Council member fed up with Pepco's storm response track record suggests the county should create its own power company.

Extensive and lengthy outages like those that followed the June 29 derecho storm outrage citizens, who are expressing that anger in a series of public meetings. Rather than put up with Pepco's failings, many citizens want tougher regulation of Pepco and other utilities, and some say they may favor taking over the utility business itself.

“I support that,” Montgomery County Council member Hans Reimer said on WAMU’s Politics Hour Friday. “I think that’s a good idea. It would save residents tens of millions of dollars a year that today is being diverted out to shareholders. The problem is it would most likely require legislation through the entire State Legislature, not just a local bill, and so that would mean the leadership in the Senate and the House would block it.”

Citizens should be angry not only with Pepco but also with the statewide officials and Legislature that are too easy on the utility.

“We have to look into the 2014 elections,” Reimer said. “We have to get clear commitments from people who want to be governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, legislators. We have to -- across the board -- keep the pressure on.”

Pepco officials contend they've stepped up their storm preparation and prevention efforts. They say they are making progress in limiting future power outages and speeding up their response to ones that do occur.

The Maryland Public Service Commission also has said it is stepping up the regulatory pressure on Pepco because of the outages.

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