Bethesda's congressional representative, Rep. Christopher Van Hollen, praised the Maryland Public Service Commission for its order, issued Wednesday, requiring the state's utility companies, such as Pepco, to improve the reliability and resiliency of electric service.
"I commend the Maryland Public Service Commission for continuing to hold utilities accountable for their restoration efforts as a result of last summer’s derecho," he said in a statement.
The commission, "using valuable input collected from affected residents, will order Pepco and other Maryland utilities to provide short-term and long-term plans that address sub-standard infrastructure, slow restoration efforts and lack of communication with customers," he continued.
The commission "also orders utilities to look into the viability of many methods that address our chronic electrical problems. I’m pleased these methods incorporate some of those identified in my report following the storm. They include the use of micro grids, selective undergrounding of power lines, mobile apps that provide accurate restoration times and advanced distribution systems that can reroute power," he added.
Among other things, the utility companies will have to:
- Figure out what needs to be done to restore electricity service to at least 95 percent of customers within 50 hours after an outage, with a focus on customers who may need electricity due to special medical needs.
- Distribute information to customers as soon as it is available during electricity outages, and update that information regularly.
- Analyze staffing to determine if there are enough trained personnel on staff or available through contractors or mutual assistance.
Read more about the Maryland Public Service Commission's order on Patch.