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Customers Angry At BGE’s Response To Irene

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Meghan McCorkell joined the Eyewitness News team in July 2011 as a...
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TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Hundreds of thousands of customers were in the dark for days. Now BGE customers are firing back at the energy giant for its response to Hurricane Irene.

Meghan McCorkell has more.

It was a full house at a public meeting Tuesday night as the state assesses BGE’s response to the storm.

As Hurricane Irene raged, trees toppled and more than 750,000 customers lost power for days.

Tuesday night, some frustrated customers sounded off to the Maryland Public Service Commission about Irene’s aftermath.

“We lose power all the time!” said Margaret DiNardo.

DiNardo went a week without power in her Timonium neighborhood.

“Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Flashlights, couldn’t eat, had to go buy all our food. All the food in the freezer was completely lost,” DiNardo said.

Susan O’Brien says lost power could be dangerous for the nursing homes she represents.

“Just as a hospital is prioritized for power restoration, we believe nursing homes—especially large nursing homes—should be prioritized, as well,” O’Brien said.

And it wasn’t just homes and businesses in the dark. Students at Timonium Elementary missed a week of class due to the power outages. Bob Slowey’s kids were home from school; electricity was out for eight days.

“I would like to have at least someone drive by and say, `Hey, we’re working on it.’ Anything,” Slowey said.

BGE spokesman Rob Gould says Irene was an epic storm, costing an estimated $81 million.

“We were hearing from our guys in the field that this was a storm that brought unprecedented damage,” Gould said.

The company is working on better communication with customers in the future.

BGE has submitted a 67-page report to the commission. BGE officials will appear in front of the commission next month.

The Maryland Public Service Commission would need to approve any proposed rate increase by BGE to cover the cost of Hurricane Irene.

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