Tuesday, January 1, 2013
The new year looks like it will kick off chilly and dry.
- LOCAL CONNECTIONS
- Ben Gross
Tuesday, January 1
Twenty-twelve was a wild year for weather in the Washington metropolitan region. On June 29, the derecho terrorized the area, forcing President Obama to declare Montgomery County a disaster area. In the fall, while we were spared the major brunt, Hurricane Sandy caused widespread flooding, downed trees, food and supply shortages at local stores and numerous school, government and activity cancellations and postponements. Those two weather events may have been the most memorable, but according to WJLA's website, a number of weather records were set in 2012: How does the forecast for the start of 2013 look? Look for New Year's Eve temperatures in the mid-30s, with only a 20 percent chance of precipitation overnight. New Year's Day should…
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Howard County leaders said they have new information to better identify neighborhoods in need of assistance.
First the first time, Howard County safety officials say they have specific information on neighborhoods still without power in the aftermath of a major storm. They will be using this information to send fire and safety officials to homes Wednesday evening that have been without power for the longest periods of time since Hurricane Sandy hit this week While the outages from Sandy are less widespread than those of recent storms, “the new data is still valuable,” said Howard County Executive Ken Ulman in a press release. As of Wednesday at 3:40 p.m., 3,534 Howard County residents were without power, according to BGE. Power has been restored to more than 34,000 households in Howard County, BGE is reporting. Sandy dumped nearly 7 inches of …
Friday, October 26, 2012
The Maryland Public Service Commission today eliminated the storm bill stabilization 24-hour grace period.
Effectively immediately, Pepco and BGE customers will not be charged for sales lost during the first 24 hours of major storm power outages, by order of the Maryland Public Service Commission. Area residents this summer were outraged to find themselves charged for power during the weeklong outages caused by the June 29 derecho. The charges came as part of a Bill Stabilization Adjustment program, which allowed utilities to bill customers for the first 24 hours after a power outage, effectively charging customers for power when they have none. The program was designed to increase efficiency, according to the commission. Friday's orders, affecting Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, Delmarva Power and Light Company, Potomac Electric Power …
Friday, September 14, 2012
But at a hearing with the PSC, the chief executive officer supported the utility's decision to withhold information from officials to protect customers' privacy.
The chief executive officer of BGE told the state’s utilities regulator on Thursday that the only way to shorten the length of major power outages would be to have a “very different delivery system,” the Baltimore Sun reports. BGE CEO Kenneth W. DeFontes Jr. was speaking at a Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) hearing, scheduled after more than 760,000 Maryland residents lost power in the wake of the late-June derecho storm. At the hearing, which is standard procedure after “major outage events,” DeFontes reportedly told regulators that BGE would need to bury some power lines–and more aggressively trim trees–to prevent more long-term outages. After June’s derecho, customers who lost power were in the dark for an average of 38 hours…
Friday, August 31, 2012
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman announced the county will focus on emergency preparedness in September.
Although Howard County is often touted among the richest and most educated areas in the state, residents still have to deal with the world's biggest source of chaos: Mother Nature. People have lost power, property and even their lives from natural disasters and accidents–ranging from the derecho in June, Hurricane Irene and the earthquake last August, and more recently the fatal train derailment in Ellicott City. It is in regard for such incidents that Howard County Executive Ken Ulman announced September as "National Preparedness Month" for the county, following the Federal Emergency Management Agency 's national initiative. "These disasters show us how important it is to take some simple steps now and prepare for emergencies before they …
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
The councilmember says there are other pockets of people experiencing reliability problems.
Howard County Councilmember Courtney Watson will introduce legislation next week asking the state to investigate BGE’s reliability in Ellicott City. Her request comes on the heels of an investigation into BGE initiated by Cathy Eshmont, an Ellicott City resident who has led a grassroots effort to fix what she has referred to as unreliable service in certain Ellicott City neighborhoods. Since Eshmont’s request was granted by the Public Service Commission (PSC), “There have been other addresses who have come forward with issues,” Watson said. “Cathy has been working hard on finding little pockets.” These new “little pockets” where residents say they, too, have reliability issues, are the areas that will be addressed in the legislation …
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Follow-up to June storm is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 15, at the George Howard Building.
The Public Service Commission is hosting a public hearing in Ellicott City Wednesday evening, one of several statewide so citizens can discuss utility company responses to the devastating June 29 storm. In Maryland, it took BGE eight days to restore power to the 748,000 customers whose service was knocked out, 62 percent of its statewide customer base. In July, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman and other county leaders sent a letter to the Public Service Commission, which regulates BGE, asking that it require utility companies to make operational improvements. The Howard County hearing will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 15, in the George Howard Building. Other hearings are scheduled for Baltimore on Tuesday, Aug. 14; and Towson, on …
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Critics say Pepco response was too slow. Supporters say critics are unrealistic.
Prince George's County residents had their opportunity to tell the Maryland Public Service Commission just how they thought Pepco handled the response to last month's derecho. The night before, PSC officials endured a four-hour meeting in Rockville. That meeting saw a full house of residents registering their anger with the power company. Afterwards, Jerry Pasternak, Pepco regional vice president for Maryland affairs, told reporters that he understood the outrage expressed by customers before the PSC. But last night's hearing at Prince George's Community College in Largo saw fewer people testifying before the PSC. While many expressed frustration and anger at Pepco's performance following the derecho and over the past few years, some …
Friday, August 3, 2012
'It is important to note that no utility east of the Mississippi River could have anticipated the raw strength of this storm system.' BGE report.
The unpredictability of the June derecho was an important factor in the scope and length of power outages across BGE’s service area, according to a new report filed with the state. BGE filed its Major Outage Event Report with the Public Service Commission on July 30 as is required by Maryland law after a "major outage event." The derecho, which hit on June 29, left more than three quarters of a million Maryland customers in the dark – 62 percent of BGE’s customer base in Maryland. Focus on BGE's response intensified after a letter sent by Howard County Executive Ken Ulman and six other elected municipal heads. In it, they said BGE refused to give them specific outage information directly after the storm hit, and that the utility …
Thursday, August 2, 2012
The county spent $0.86 per capita related to the June 29 and 30 storm.
Gov. Martin O'Malley requested federal aid recently for six jurisdictions in Maryland as a result of the storm that hit at the end of June, and Howard County, which incurred more than $240,000 in storm costs, wasn't one of them. To be included in the request for federal aid, Howard County would have needed to spend $3.39 per capita in storm costs, according to Kevin Enright, spokesman for the county government. Storm-related costs for the county totaled $0.86 per capita, said Enright. Howard County tallied up its storm-related costs to $184,494, said Enright, and combined with state agencies' expenditures—like the State Highway Administration and the Department of Social Services—the grand total was $246,226, or $0.86 per capita, said …