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Maryland Public Service Commission Tells Utilities To Toughen Up

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Critics have said Pepco's response to last summer's derecho was slow and ineffectual.
Rebecca Cooper
Critics have said Pepco's response to last summer's derecho was slow and ineffectual.

Eight months after a Derecho storm ripped through the region, the Maryland Public Service Commission has ordered utility companies to improve the resiliency and reliability of their electric distribution infrastructure.

The late June storm brought powerful straight-line winds to Maryland from the Midwest. It toppled trees and tree limbs, which in turn pulled down overhead power lines, accounting for 32 million hours of service interruption. At its peak, nearly 1 million people were without power.

Today, in the wake of eight public hearings, the MPSC issued a dictum directing utilities to harden their distribution systems to improve reliability. They also cautioned power companies to communicate more effectively and mend the disconnect between the public's expectations and the ability of the present-day electric systems to meet those expectations

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