More on Pepco

From Nancy Floreen’s regular correspondence, she offered these facts and commentary on the dismal state of affairs that is local power distribution in Montgomery County.

Pepco Work Group Releases Survey Results
The results are in. The County’s Pepco Work Group received nearly 12,000 responses to the survey it conducted in January and February. A total of 10,895 residents responded, while 654 businesses completed the survey. Among the findings reported by Pepco customers taking the survey are:

  • Almost 95 percent reported they had experienced at least one outage of more than five hours in the past year. Just over 50 percent also reported that they had experienced non-major-event-related outages of more than one hour in the past year.
  • The economic costs of long outages experienced in the past year can be estimated, based on reports obtained from survey respondents, from $22.9 to $114.6 million for residents in Montgomery County and $21.1 to $211 million for businesses. Pepco’s Montgomery County customers appear to be incurring outage-related costs that are on the same magnitude as Pepco’s 2010 earnings of $139 million.
  • Of the respondents who experienced outages of longer than five hours, almost 65 percent reported calling Pepco more than twice to check the status of the outage. Only 5 percent of Pepco’s residential customers reported that they did not attempt to call Pepco at all. Of those who experienced long outages, 85.5 percent incurred costs or other economic losses that they otherwise would not have incurred.
  • A full 609 commercial respondents, or 94.9 percent, experienced one or more outages of longer than five hours in the past year. Of those who experienced long outages, 83.3 percent incurred costs or other economic losses that they otherwise would not have incurred.

Progress on reliability continues to be complicated, so here’s a refresher:

  • Last summer, Pepco disclosed that it ranked in the bottom 25 percent of utilities for two common measures of day-to-day reliability, and the company released a Reliability Enhancement Plan.
  • On August 12, the Maryland Public Service Commission opened an investigation into the reliability and quality of the electric distribution service of Pepco.  A key element of the investigation was an independent consultant’s review of Pepco’s system reliability.
  • In the recent State legislative session, legislation was adopted requiring the PSC to establish reliability standards for the delivery of electricity to retain customers and to establish penalties for poor performance.
  • The Pepco Work Group’s Report, which was issued on April 20, will be conveyed to the PSC to inform its work over the next year on the reliability standards and other issues associated with its oversight of Pepco.
  • We hired Stanley Balis, a nationally recognized attorney with more than 30 years specializing in utility regulation and related issues, to represent our interests in a number of cases coming before the Public Service Commission, including the investigation into Pepco’s reliability.