Jul 2 MD Senator Rosapepe Letter to PSC to Put Power Lines Underground (2012)

I thought you might be interested in the letter I sent yesterday to the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC).

With thousands of Maryland businesses, homeowners, and renters still without electricity, the power companies continue to claim they couldn't plan to minimize the power failures which disrupted our community over the past few days.

I've asked the PSC to launch its own study of the costs and benefits of undergrounding more electric lines to protect them from winds and trees.PEPCO and BGE have fought undergrounding for years, claiming it would cost them too much. But their studies ignore the costs to businesses and residents of food rotting in refrigerators, work time lost with internet connections, and all the other disruption caused by power failures.

They also ignore the repeated warnings from meteorologists that climate change means more extreme weather events.  All of us lived through snowmageddon, hurricanes, and brushfires in recent years. If the utility executives don't believe the scientists, they should trust their own eyes, peering out at blacked-out traffic signals.

It's time to make long term, job-creating investments to protect our economy and stop our region from slipping into third world standards of electric reliability.

Welcome your thoughts!


July 2, 2012

Douglas R.M. Nazarian
Public Service Commission
Office Of The Commissioners
William Donald Schaefer Tower
6 St. Paul St., 16th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21202

Dear Mr. Chairman:

With hundreds of thousands of Marylanders without power -- again -- it's time for the PSC to lead a major job-creating initiative by the state's power companies to underground critical electric lines.

Every time the lights go out, BGE and PEPCO blame the Almighty. Now, after their tree-cutting campaigns have failed to protect traffic signals on our roads and food in our refrigerators, the failure of their strategy is clear. We need a new approach which recognizes the reality of climate change -- the new normal is severe, unpredictable weather, in summer as well as winter.

Wind knocks down the trees, but the power companies decide to keep the power lines under the trees and not underground. And the power companies pump up their profits by under-investing in preparation to promptly repair damage.

The PSC should launch its own study of which lines should go underground and propose a plan to get it done.


Senator Jim Rosapepe
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