Today Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen released an analysis, “June 29, 2012 Derecho: Comparison of Local Utilities’ Rates of Restoration,” to the Montgomery County Council as part of its ongoing examination of issues with Pepco. To read the full report, click here.
“While Pepco cannot control extreme weather events, it has direct control over how it prepares and responds to them. Unfortunately, despite Pepco’s recently announced reliability enhancement plan, the findings in our analysis point to Pepco’s continued underperformance,” said Congressman Van Hollen. “Without in any way diminishing the hard and often heroic efforts of Pepco’s individual front line workers, the company’s stubbornly persistent pattern of underperformance is unacceptable. It is high time Pepco’s ratepayers receive the best-in-class service they are paying for and deserve.”
Among the Report’s Specific Findings:
- Although Dominion had more than double the number of outages as Pepco at the start of the restoration effort on the evening of Friday, June 29, the number of Pepco and Dominion customers without power was almost equal by Monday, July 2.
- By Sunday, July 1, Dominion had restored electricity to almost 60 percent of its customers that lost power, whereas Pepco had restored electricity to just over 20 percent of its customers that lost power. It took Pepco until Wednesday, July 4 before its outage restoration percentage was on par with Dominion.
- Pepco began the restoration effort with fewer crews assigned than Dominion and continued to deploy significantly smaller numbers of workers than Dominion each day throughout the restoration period.
Recommended Next Steps:
- The Maryland Public Service Commission should reject Pepco’s pending request for a 4 percent rate increase and make clear that future rate increases will not be approved until Pepco makes meaningful and measurable progress on reliability for all of its customers.
- Ratepayers should not be forced to compensate Pepco for power they never received as a result of the June 29th derecho. While so-called bill stabilization measures can play a role in advancing energy efficiency, they should not be applied in this context.
- Because current laws and enforcement actions have not materially improved Pepco’s performance, the State of Maryland and the Maryland Public Service Commission should examine and enact whatever additional measures are necessary to align Pepco’s interests with the legitimate expectations of its customers. These steps should include a comprehensive review of opportunities for selective undergrounding, as well as consideration of the Frosh – Rosapepe “surge reserve” proposal.