Reporting Mike Hellgren
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—All of Maryland’s major electrical utilities must file reports on how they managed power restoration after last Friday’s massive storm. No electricity and extreme heat is a painful combination still affecting more than 40,000 people in Maryland.
Mike Hellgren has more on the growing anger from those who still don’t have electricity.
For the first time, we heard from the head of the Public Service Commission. He says he is closely monitoring BGE.
With anger growing six days after the storm, the chairman of the Maryland Public Service Commission — which regulates BGE — warned utilities could face penalties if their response broke any regulations.
After everyone’s electricity is back on, BGE has three weeks to give the PSC a detailed report on how it handled power restoration for more than 600,000 customers.
“Know that we’re pushing as hard as we can to get this restored as fast as we can,” said Chairman Douglas Nazarian, Maryland Public Service Commission. “Nobody is happy until all the power is back on. But we don’t, at this point, have the data to grade fairly their performance one way or the other.”
“We try to do a balanced restoration,” said Rob Gould, BGE.
BGE says it won’t yet release any of the thousands of crews working on the downed lines.
“We’ve restored almost 660,000 customers, so we’re well above 90 percent. But the number that means more to the customers is what’s left,” Gould said.
Brittany Ball, of Randallstown, is fed up. She’s just home after giving birth and says six days without power is unacceptable.
“Definitely not this long. Maybe a couple days, but it’s almost a week now, and they’re saying it might not be on until Sunday. It’s extremely unsatisfactory,” Ball said.
It’s taking so long to get power back on, one lawmaker is calling for Maryland to require more power lines be buried underground.
“What are the costs to the citizens when you lose $200 worth of food in your refrigerator? If you have to take your mother to stay in a hotel because it’s too hot to stay in her house?” said Sen. Jim Rosapepe, D-Anne Arundel County.
But that’s not a quick fix, and priority one remains restoring power to the still tens of thousands without it.
“We fully expect utility companies going 100 percent flat out until everyone’s turned back on,” Nazarian said.
The Public Service Commission does have some bite. They’ve fined Pepco in the D.C. area $1 million for its performance.