Van Hollen aims to make Pepco accountable after storm -- Gazette.Net







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Many residents in the Kemp Mill community faced difficulty keeping kosher food for the Sabbath following June 29’s storm, something U.S. Rep. Christopher Van Hollen Jr. (D) of Kensington and other local officials addressed at the Kemp Mill Civic Association meeting July 10.

“While Pepco complains it is not fair to compare them to others in the area, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to compare them to others in the same region that experienced the same kind of shock to their power system,” Van Hollen said to the more than 50 residents in attendance.

Civic association President Rebekah Rasooly said the Kemp Mill community was hit hard by the storm, which left 400,000 Montgomery County residents in the dark for days. Residents went more than a week without power, with the last home fully restored July 8, nine days after the storm.

“I can certainly understand and I can empathize with you,” said Del. Ben Kramer (D-Dist.19) of Derwood, who works on the Economic Matters Committee.

“There’s going to be punishment for poor performance.”

Del. Bonnie Cullison (D-Dist.19) of Aspen Hill, County Councilwoman Nancy Floreen (D-At large) of Garrett Park and representatives from the offices of Councilwoman Nancy Navarro (D-Dist. 4) of Silver Spring, and Del. Sam Arora (D-Dist. 19) of Silver Spring also were in attendance.

Each of the officials present agreed Pepco’s rate increase should be denied and the Public Service Commission should force the utility company to comply with a high reliability standard at its hearing Thursday. Twenty-nine state legislators from Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, including Arora, Kramer and Cullison, wrote PSC July 10 urging the regulatory panel to deny Pepco’s request for a 4 percent rate increase.

“They need to funnel more of their profits back into strengthening the system, improving the system, rather than giving high rates and returns back to their shareholders,” Van Hollen said.