WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

Montgomery County Residents Target Pepco, PSC, At Hearing

Play associated audio
A Pepco truck makes its rounds in Northwest D.C. to restore power in early July. Power outages resulting from the June 29 derecho storm lasted as long as a week. 
Mylon Medley
A Pepco truck makes its rounds in Northwest D.C. to restore power in early July. Power outages resulting from the June 29 derecho storm lasted as long as a week. 

It's been more than a month since the derecho storm tore through the D.C. area, leaving hundreds of thousands of Pepco customers without power, some for as long as week. Anger over those lengthy outages hasn't subsided, if a hearing in Rockville last night is any indicator — and electric utility Pepco wasn't the only target.

The hearing was held by the Maryland Public Service Commission, which is starting its investigation into the response to the storm by the state's utilities. Last night focused on Pepco, and plenty of Montgomery County residents turned out.

The terms "reactive, not proactive," "outrage," "no clue" and "arrogance" were common refrains from residents — one of whom also read a limerick he crafted for the occasion. 

Many speakers also directed their ire at the PSC itself as the body that is supposed to regulate the utility. Former Rockville mayor Susan Hoffman, for example, told commission members she isn't sure any more whether the PSC can regulate effectively.

"While each of you has a fine resume, some of you come from the world of public utilities," she said. "Perhaps you are too close to the issue, know too much, and may have unwittingly become apologists for the very utilities you regulate."

The commission did approve a rate hike requested by Pepco last month, though the hike was far below what the utility asked for. 

The commission will hold a second hearing on Pepco's response tonight in Prince George's County, as well as four hearings next week in areas served by BG&E. The utilities will speak before the commission next month.


Bill Cosby Removed From Documentary On Black Stuntmen

Bill Cosby was instrumental in opening the door for black stuntmen in Hollywood early in his career. He was to be a central figure in a new documentary about black stuntmen, but that has now changed. He will be mentioned, but his interviews have been pulled, following the latest revelations about the comedian, who admitted in court documents that he drugged women for sex.

Me-Tea-Morphosis: Tea Bags Get Second Life As Works Of Art

Artists are reinventing the humble tea bag, letting its contents and simple shape and color shine in beautiful, fragile art. Some are even farming out the tea drinking to get to the used bags.

New York's LaGuardia Airport To Get Long Overdue Redesign

NPR's Melissa Block talks to Janet R. Daly Bednarek, an aviation expert and professor at the University of Dayton, about the airport that was once thought of as a model for all U.S. airports.

Tech Experts Warn Of Artifical Intelligence Arms Race In Open Letter

More than 1,000 tech experts, scientists and researchers have signed on to a letter warning about the dangers of autonomous weapons. NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with Stuart Russell, an artificial intelligence researcher and the force behind the open letter.

Leave a Comment

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