MARYLAND

Petition calls for new Maryland Public Service Commission

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Over 2,200 Maryland resident have signed a petition started by a Montgomery County councilmember against the Maryland Public Service Commission. Supporters want the agency to be held responsible for its slow response to Pepco's restoration efforts following the June 29 derecho.

Councilmember Hans Riemer started the petition on Friday.

The Maryland Public Service Commission is planning to hold public hearings on the issue in September.

But, Hyattville resident Pamela Fields said, "it's not enough. To me, they're just not doing enough."

Fields has a heart condition and cannot handle extreme heat. When she lost power for seven days after the severe storm, it caused all kinds of problems.

"I need to have air conditioning, because I do have a pacemaker, and I literally passed out from the heat," Fields added.

She says Pepco wouldn't do anything about her dilemma.

"I called Pepco to let them know that I was a heart patient and couldn't be without electricity, and they told me there was nothing they could do."

Councilmember Riemer's petition calls for "Governor O’Malley to fire PSC Chairman Douglas Nazarian and the rest of the PSC, and replace them with real consumer advocates."

"They have just been asleep at the wheel. It's time to get new regulators at the PSC and get tough," Riemer explained.

Four days after the storm, Dominion Virginia Power had restored power to 67 percent of its customers, and 61 percent of BGE customers had their power back.  However, Pepco had restored power to only 43 percent.

Takoma Park resident Brock White said, "They don't do things as well as some of the other companies in the area."

Nazarian has admitted the commission was slow to recognize problems at Pepco.

To that admittance the petition reads, "But he is still in charge of the PSC and so are the rest of the slow responders. Why? " Fields believes maybe the petition will finally help resolve that question.

"We're taxpayers, we pay their salary, so yes, I think it will make a big difference," she said.

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