WASHINGTON – Pepco says it tried new strategies as the June 29 derecho struck Maryland, according to a post-storm assessment the utility filed with the Maryland Public Service Commission Monday.
For example, in Pepco’s 134-page report on its response to the derecho, officials said if crews in the past went to a site and found they needed different equipment to make the repairs, they’d have to go back to a staging area to pick up the needed materials.
But this time, Pepco tried having support staff bring the materials directly to the crews at the trouble spots.
Did the change help restore power sooner? Pepco’s own report says there was no significant impact on restoration times.
Sen. Jim Rosapepe, D-College Park, criticized Pepco’s storm report. In a news release, Rosapepe says Pepco failed to prepare for major storms and “simply had not buried enough power lines and did not have enough local, trained workers ready to restore power quickly.”
Rosapepe says Pepco did not meet the Public Service Commission’s reliability standard.
“I hope the PSC levies its fines based on the facts of hundreds of millions of dollars of economic damage which we all saw, not on the ‘thru the looking glass’ fictions of Pepco,” he says.
All Maryland utilities, including Baltimore Gas and Electric, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative and Potomac Edison handed in storm assessment reports to the Public Service Commission, which will hold public hearings next week.
Only after those hearings and its own study will the PSC issue an assessment of Pepco’s performance.
The five-member commission will hold hearings for public comment next week. One hearing will be held Aug. 7 in Montgomery County and another Aug. 8 in Prince George’s County.
In September, the utilities will appear before the commission at its Baltimore office for “legislative style” hearings. After that point, the PSC will compile its own findings on how each utility performed during the storm that knocked out power to more than 1 million people in the region.