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Maryland Public Service Commission Reconsidering Charging Pepco, BGE Customers During Storm Outages In Wake Of WUSA9 Probe

10:40 AM, Aug 10, 2012   |    comments
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WUSA) - The same regulatory board that approved BGE and Pepco billing customers for lost revenue during storm outages is now considering reversing itself in the wake of a 9 Wants to Know probe.

Click here to see the WUSA9 story that sparked outrage and exposed the billing for time customers were without power.

In July, WUSA9 exposed a little known Maryland Public Service Commission mandate that automatically bills Maryland customers for a portion of the revenue utilities lose during the first 24 hours of a storm blackout.

Although the billing could be under a dollar a customer, the story sparked outrage among consumers who were without power for days on end.

When pressed by 9 Wants to Know at a July hearing, PSC Chairman Douglas Nazarian said he had no regrets about approving the automatic billing called Bill Stabilization Adjustment (BSA) and declined to acknowledge the outrage expressed by consumers.

Click here to see our story where Nazarian said he has no regrets about charge.

"I heard a lot of people didn't say one way or the other," Nazarian said. "I heard a lot of different messages today and we're taking them all back."

Nazarian lauded his January decision allowing the billing because it restricted the charges to the first 24 hours of an outage from the previously allowed seven days.

Thursday, the commission quietly posted a notice on its website announcing the hearing to consider reversing the measure.

"The commission received numerous comments from citizens asking it to prevent the companies from collecting the BSA surcharge for even the first 24 hours," the hearing notice states. "In response to these requests, the commission will re-examine."

The hearing is scheduled for September 24th and won't prevent Maryland consumers from seeing additional charges next month for the outage caused by the late June storm.

To follow our ongoing probe into Pepco and the Maryland Public Service Commission, follow Twitter.com/russptacek and Facebook.com/russptacek.

If you know about utility misdeeds, corruption, or government waste, e-mail us at tips@wusa9.com.

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