D.C.

D.C. Council, customers grill Pepco executives

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In a hearing Friday afternoon, the D.C. Council and customers have been grilled Pepco officials on the company’s response to last month’s severe storms that left thousands of customers without power.

Derecho 2012: A look back at the deadly storm

Derecho 2012: A look back at the deadly storm 89 Photos
Derecho 2012: A look back at the deadly storm
(Photo: Afagen/flickr)

With Pepco executives looking on, speaker after speaker criticized their response to the storm two weeks ago.

In addition to the hearing, today the D.C. Public Service Commission announced it is requiring Pepco to create a detailed plan of how it will deal with major outages in the future.

A majority of Montgomery County and D.C. residents spent nearly a whole week in the dark and without air conditioning, during the height of an intense heat wave.

"Oh, we weren't prepared we're surprised, they are never prepared for anything and that's the trouble," said Mary Kay Evans, Silver Spring resident.

PHOTOS: Deadly storms ravage D.C. area

Pepco recruited response teams from around the country, even Canada, in an effort to keep up with the devastation that the Derecho storm left behind. But local officials say this latest weather emergency highlighted how weak the utility company is when it comes to being prepared.

"They were terrible, they didn't know if they were coming or going they couldn't make reasonable predictions,” said Sen. Brian Frosh, (D) Montgomery County.

These officials are now calling on Maryland regulators to fine utility giants Pepco and BGE $100 million each to set up a surge reserve fund.

Friday afternoon, the D.C. Council got its chance to put Pepco on the hot seat. They’re expected to focus on reliability and restoration after 66,000 residents in the city lost power during the storm.

"We do need to fine them and we need to fine them big," Frosh said. 

Earlier this week, Pepco was granted an extension for the rate increase decision that was scheduled to be announced Friday.

The public will have a chance to submit questions for Pepco officials.

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