Lawmakers want Pepco, BGE to pay $100m fines

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Local,Maryland,Rachel Baye

Pepco and Baltimore Gas and Electric should have to pay fines of $100 million each for how long the electric companies took to restore residents' power last week, two Maryland lawmakers told the state's utility regulator.

Sen. Brian Frosh, D-Montgomery County, and Sen. James Rosapepe, D-Prince George's County, suggested to the Public Service Commission that the $200 million could help train workers to restore power faster in the next storm, the Associated Press reported. The two have started an online petition to support the effort.

Frosh also said that he wants to end the practice of charging ratepayers for the first 24 hours of a power outage.

Currently power companies can charge a small fee, called a "bill stabilization adjustment," to make sure the utilities earn the amount of revenue approved by the Maryland and D.C. Public Service Commissions. On months when customers use a lot of energy, they earn a credit. When they use less energy, they pay a fee.

When the power goes off, the company can recoup 24 hours' worth of lost revenues.

The practice does not give utilities incentive to keep the lights on, Frosh said. His effort to stop the practice last year didn't make it out of the Maryland General Assembly.

rbaye@washingtonexaminer.com

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