PSC Wrestles With Billing After Power Outages

BALTIMORE (AP) — Maryland regulators are considering changing a policy that allows utilities to bill customers for lost revenue during the first 24 hours of a power outage.

The Maryland Public Service Commission held a hearing on the matter Monday in Baltimore.

Utility officials with Baltimore Gas and Electric and the Potomac Electric Power Company say the money helps pay for immediate costs related to restoring power after a storm.

Commissioners questioned whether the policy should continue, particularly after customers had significant extra expenses incurred from June’s powerful derecho storm.

Kevin Hughes, a PSC commissioner, says customers have described the billing as “like pouring salt in their wounds,” even if the cost is only 15 or 50 cents a customer.

Commission Chairman Doug Nazarian says the panel will rule as soon as possible.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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