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PSC fines for BGE and Pepco would stick customers with the bill [Letter]

1:53 PM EST, March 7, 2013

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This letter is in response to the article on page 8 of the Laurel Leader dated March 7, "Rosapepe disappointed by PSC assessment." 

Mr. Rosapepe and Mr. Frosh may be disappointed about the Public Service Commission's decision to not impose a $100 million fine on Pepco and BGE for their slow response last year in restoring power. However I'm not. Here's why: 

If Mr. Frosh and Mr. Rosapepe would have been successful in their bid to compel the Public Service Commissioner to impose these huge fines, who would have ultimately paid for these fines? We the customers. That's right! Just like the banks after the "mortgage meltdown" in 2008, Pepco and BGE would have scurried to find ways to recoup their losses by way of increased rate hikes through their customers. To add insult to injury the $100 million fine would most likely not have been invested in utility upgrades or even used to reimburse customers who took a huge loss in business or in their refrigerators. No folks. That money would have gone right into the state coffer where the rest of our taxes are squandered. That's on the assumption that Pepco and BGE would have cheerfully complied with paying the $100 million fine. Don't think for one minute that these two corporate titans would have taken this lying down. Heck no! For that kind of money every lawyer from here to Annapolis would have gotten on that bandwagon to make a buck. This would have dragged on in court for years until that magic word "settlement" would appear. By that time that $100 million fine would have been whittled down with stipulations galore while the tax payers would have paid for this charade for years. I'm no friend of Pepco or BGE. Maybe Mr. Rosapepe's outcry will trigger some changes in their respective responses to natural disasters. However, the derecho of last summer was an act of nature. Clearly, as any disaster reminds us, we as a people have not yet fully conquered the forces of nature. Was power eventually restored? Yes. No doubt not as quickly as we the customers would have liked. Mr. Rosapepe and Mr. Frosh can now go back to their constituents like great warriors defeated in battle and proclaim "we tried." Gentleman, find a cheaper calling to bring about change or pay for it yourselves. Ultimately and more importantly we the customers aren't going to have to pay for an additional $100 million in rate hikes and that's something to be happy about.

George St. Peter

Laurel