O’Malley asks Maryland regulators to investigate Pepco’s handling of power outages

By Brian Witte, AP
Monday, August 9, 2010

O’Malley calls for review of power outages in Md.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Gov. Martin O’Malley is calling on Maryland regulators to investigate Pepco’s handling of power outages that affected more than 300,000 customers late last month, and the head of the Maryland Public Service Commission said Monday the panel will respond to the governor soon.

Douglas Nazarian, the PSC chairman, declined to comment further.

The July 25 thunderstorm, which was blamed for causing four deaths, downed major power lines, broke electric poles and damaged numerous transformers. Power outages lasted for up to five days for some Pepco customers.

O’Malley wrote in a letter Friday to Nazarian that Pepco also failed to communicate effectively with its customers during the outage period. He also said Pepco’s website failed to provide accurate information at times, and its call centers were unable to handle the volume of calls it received.

“Customers deserve a prompt review of Pepco’s handling of these outages, as well as a more comprehensive examination of Pepco’s storm preparedness,” O’Malley wrote.

Pepco is compiling a report on the outages caused by the thunderstorm. It is due to the PSC later this month.

“We look forward to working with the governor and the Maryland Public Service Commission to provide them with any and all information they need on the cause of the outages and any recommendations to better our reliability,” said Clay Anderson, a Pepco spokesman.

The PSC reviewed the performance of Maryland utilities after February’s large snowstorms, and O’Malley wrote that he believes another review should be done.

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