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After Irene, Pepco Critic Still Has Strong Words For Utility

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Pepco restored most power outages after Hurricane Irene by Monday evening, but Montgomery County Council Vice President Roger Berliner still says the company hasn't done enough to prevent future outages.
Elliott Francis
Pepco restored most power outages after Hurricane Irene by Monday evening, but Montgomery County Council Vice President Roger Berliner still says the company hasn't done enough to prevent future outages.

In the 24 hours after Hurricane Irene passed, PEPCO was able to restore power to two-thirds of the customers who lost it. But one of the utility's harshest critics is still not impressed.

Montgomery County Council Vice President Roger Berliner says the lower than expected number of power outages had more to do with Irene than with PEPCO's much publicized changes.

"This was more the storm was weak," says Berliner.

PEPCO embarked on a plan to increase reliability following thunderstorms last summer that left some without power for a week. Berliner says the utility's plan is not enough, especially when it comes to upgrading its infrastructure.

"They sent the dollars to their parent company instead of investing in their system," Berliner says. "So my hope is in September, the Maryland Public Service Commission will say to PEPCO 'Here are all the things you have to do. And by the way, your shareholders, not rate payers, will pick up the tab.'"

Before Irene hit last the week, the president of PEPCO's parent company said the utility would not look to increase rates as a way to pay for higher costs from the storm.

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