I have been without power since Wednesday evening. As of Friday afternoon, I am one of 61,000 Montgomery County residents still without power.
We all understand that power interruptions will occur, even with the best performing public utilities. But Pepco is not among the best utilities. In fact, it is one of the worst performing utilities in the country.
There are several legislative possibilities being explored at the moment aimed at improving Pepco's performance. One is the Governor's bill that I will be co-sponsoring to establish financial penalties for electric utilities that fail to meet reliability standards. These penalties would be credited directly back to consumers. This is the legislation that has been in the works since the outages this last summer. I am also working with colleagues on another more aggressive bill that would go even further to hold Pepco accountable. The specifics are still under construction.
What has become clear is that Pepco is not proactive or responsive, does not have a modern system for communicating with customers or addressing urgent needs (we have numerous nursing homes that are still without heat), and has unacceptable performance levels when compared to neighboring utilities. We deserve better.
This cannot just be an issue we work on while the power is out, and then forget once service is restored. It is clear that some of the necessary changes could be implemented immediately, but others will take months. However, the five-year "reliability Enhancement Plan" timeline Pepco is working with will not improve service quickly enough.