- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 9, 2012

After receiving numerous complaints from customers, the Maryland Public Service Commission is taking another look at whether power companies should be able to charge customers during major outages.

Power companies are currently allowed to charge a fee that kicks in to make up for revenue lost during a power outage. After hearings in January, the PSC directed that the charge could only be collected during the first 24 hours of an outage.

Customers began protesting the fee after a violent and rare series of storms in June, which caused widespread power outages lasting as long as eight days in Maryland. Afterward, many residents asked the commission to prevent power companies from collecting any money for the days they were without power.

The PSC is planning a Sept. 24 hearing to get input on the surcharge.

Within hours of announcing the hearing, members of the Montgomery County Council commended the PSC for questioning the fee. Montgomery County residents suffered the longest widespread outages.

“This issue is not so much about dollars as it is principle — Pepco should share the financial pain associated with power outages,” said Council President Roger Berliner.

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