Pepco Defends Storm Response to Regulators - NBC4 Washington

Pepco Defends Storm Response to Regulators



    Pepco testified before the Maryland Public Service Commission about its performance during recent storms (Published Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2010)

    Pepco is defending its response to recent storms that left many without power for days.

    But during a hearing before the Maryland Public Service Commission on Tuesday, Pepco officials also admitted that they've had problems communicating with customers and haven't performed as well as other area utilities in reliability and restoration of service lost.

    Commission Chairman Doug Nazarian told Pepco officials the commission has received stacks of complaints about the utility's communication and "there is a perception the company is not prepared and is not mobilized" for storms.

    "We know it's been frustrating," said David Velazquez, Pepco's executive vice president for power delivery.

    Pepco Feels Heat Over Power Outages

    [DC] Pepco Feels Heat Over Power Outages
    Elected leaders demand answers from Pepco after repeated outages this summer.
    (Published Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2010)

    Pepco officials said the utility's outage frequency is in the bottom half compared to other utilities over the past several years -- not including storms.

    Bill Gausman, senior vice president of asset management, said the company has a four-year program under way it hopes will move it into the top half.

    Pepco officials said they are boosting tree trimming work since most outages are due to downed trees and looking at burying lines where possible.

    Pepco Facing Strong Criticism for Outages

    [DC] Pepco Facing Strong Criticism for Outages
    After weeks of storm-related power outages, some Pepco customers say they've had it, and some lawmakers are questioning the company's reliability and preparedness for future storms.
    (Published Monday, Aug. 16, 2010)

    Montgomery County Council President Nancy Floreen said she was not pleased, noting company officials could not tell the commissioners how many customers they had in her county and she wanted the commission to demand specific action by Pepco.

    Pepco serves almost 800,000 customers in the District of Columbia and Prince George's and Montgomery counties.

    "I'd like a standard established that they would have to meet" for storm response, Floreen said.

    Pepco Under Fire

    [DC] Pepco Under Fire
    The utility company is preparing to face tough questions about its response and reliability after transformer fires and power outages.
    (Published Monday, Aug. 16, 2010)

    Before the hearing began, Nazarian said the public would be able to comment at a hearing Aug. 30 in the Montgomery County Council building in Rockville.

    Gov. Martin O'Malley said he hopes the PSC investigation will sort out how much of the lack of reliability is due to storms and how much is due to issues such as preventive maintenance. He said analysis is needed to determine whether the agency should invest more in infrastructure.

    "I mean, if it's another couple cents a month and we're going to have more reliable service," he said, "I think most people would say that's better than throwing out their groceries every other week."

    Fan, Follow and Text: Get the latest from anytime, anywhere. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Sign up for our e-mail newsletters and get breaking news delivered right to your mobile phone -- just text DCBREAKING to 622339 to sign up. (Message and data rates may apply.)