MARYLAND

Pepco fined $1 million by Public Service Commission

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Pepco is about to pay the price for what customers constantly say is poor service.

Pepco was informed of the $1 million fine on Wednesday. (Photo: WJLA)

The large utility company has been fined $1 million by the Maryland Public Service Commission, just days after it asked for a rate hike.

The PSC says the fine is for failing to fix ongoing problems that have led to frequent outages across Maryland and the District.

It's the largest fine ever levied by the commission, they say, and the penalties might not be done.

Pepco officials say that while the fine was harsh, they don't plan to appeal the decision.

The Public Service Commission says the fine was doled out for three main reasons. The agency says that Pepco:

-failed to maintain power lines for years
-has failed at its efforts to trim trees regularly
-did not conduct after-storm inspections and patrols.

Officials say each of those problems was exacerbated by poor communication with customers.

The failures have forced local residents to pay a significant price, the PSC says, in both dollars and physical discomfort.

Meanwhile, Pepco went to the PSC earlier this week to request a 4 percent rate hike. The extra revenue would help them recoup costs they incurred restoring power after Hurricane Irene.

Earlier this year, Pepco acknowledged some shortfalls in their service and announced a five-year, multi-million dollar plan to improve.

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