Montgomery County Faces Public Utility Company Debate | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Montgomery County Faces Public Utility Company Debate

Play associated audio
A fallen tree and power lines after a severe storm hit the D.C. area last June.
Rebecca Cooper
A fallen tree and power lines after a severe storm hit the D.C. area last June.

After a weekend full of outages for thousands of Pepco customers, Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner will meet this week with two groups that want to replace the utility with a publicly owned company.

Berliner will tell both groups things they probably don't want to hear, including that a public utility for Montgomery County is highly unlikely.

Berliner supports the idea, he says, because he does not believe Pepco will be able to improve its system to a level acceptable for county residents. But the county would need to get the General Assembly's approval before it could start its own utility and ditch Pepco.

"We can not do that without the state legislature blessing it," he says. "And I've been told by people who are very familiar with the workings that don't count on the state legislature giving Montgomery County that authority."

Pepco seems very confident it will not happen, Berliner adds. "Pepco officials have looked me straight in the eye and have said 'Roger, public power will never happen,'" he says. "So they may be right, in which case, we have to improve this system every which way we can."

At the very least, he's asking the General Assembly to allow the public utility issue to go to referendum, allowing Montgomery County voters to decide whether they want to keep Pepco or replace it with a public utility.

Berliner adds Pepco executives have told him they are confident that Montgomery County will never be allowed to start its own utility. Public utilities are not new to Maryland, as the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, or SMECO, serves four counties in the state.

NPR

The World Music Education of Philip Glass

In his new memoir, Music Without Words, the composer explains how a chance meeting with Ravi Shankar sparked a fascination with the cultures of the world and their music.
NPR

PepsiCo Swaps Diet Drink's Aspartame For Other Artificial Sweeteners

The company says Diet Pepsi consumers are concerned about aspartame. But the Food and Drug Administration has long affirmed that the sweetener is safe in amounts commonly used by beverage companies.
NPR

8 Obama Jokes That Stood Out From The White House Correspondents Dinner

Every year, the president sits down for dinner with Washington reporters and delivers a standup routine. From his "bucket list" to Hillary Clinton, here's what he came up with this year.
NPR

As Health Apps Hop On The Apple Watch, Privacy Will Be Key

The notion of receiving nutrition advice from artificial intelligence on your wrist may seem like science fiction. But health developers are betting this kind of behavior will become the norm.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.