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Pepco Defends Storm Response To Maryland Regulators | News

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Pepco Defends Storm Response To Maryland Regulators
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BALTIMORE (WUSA/AP) -- Pepco is defending its response to recent storms that left many without power for days to Maryland utility regulators.

But during a hearing before the Maryland Public Service Commission on Tuesday Pepco officials also admitted that they've had problems communicating with customers.

The PSC noted in its order calling Tuesday's hearing that outages since late July have affected nearly a half million customers and customers complain the company has not communicated effectively during outages.

PSC Chairman Douglas Nazarin engaged in a long round of questioning. He says from hundreds of letters and complaints, the perception among customers is that "the power goes out too often, too easily, and takes too long to restore."

Executive Vice President for Power Delivery Dave Velazquez says, "It's been a frustrating" summer for us and our customers. "We know we need to take responsibility." But he says these were "three very powerful storms."

Bill Gausman, senior vice president of asset management, says a four-year program already under way aims to move the utility into the top half.

Pepco officials say they are boosting tree trimming work since most outages are due to downed trees and looking at burying lines where possible.

But the power company was also forced to admit that it ranks in the bottom quarter for reliability nationwide -- when the sun is shining and there's not a storm in sight.

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