The results of the power companies’ failure to face reality and modernize are clear to all Marylanders — food rotting in refrigerators, hourly workers laid off, small businesses closed for days, and hundreds of millions of dollars in goods, services and productivity lost by our constituents.
Today Senator Jim Rosapepe (D, College Park) and I wrote to Maryland PSC Chair Doug Nazarian asking the Public Service Commission to impose fines of more than $100 million each for PEPCO and BGE to fund a “Surge Reserve” of trained workers to end long power failures.
In 2011, I sponsored an amendment on the Senate floor to prohibit utilities from charging customers for electricity when their power is out. While it failed 22-22, the legislature did require the PSC to set reliability standards and increase the fines the PSC can impose to $25,000 per customer per day. With this authority, we’re urging the PSC to take three actions:
-impose significant fines on the utilities for their power failures, based on the economic dangers they caused and the need to incentivize them to change their behavior;
-develop a plan to modernize our electric infrastructure of the 21st century, including selective undergrounding; and
-propose a “surge reserve” plan to the Governor providing enough technically-trained local professionals to restore service promptly to customers in the next predictable extreme weather event.