The recent widespread power outages that left so many sweltering and without communication will ideally become a rallying cry for citizens of the greater DC-Baltimore area to pressure power companies — specifically Pepco and BGE— to underground more of their wires. The area is much more vulnerable than it should be in this regard (My European friends are amazed that so many wires are still above ground here). In an area as developed and high profile as this, it is scandalous that some families are in their sixth day without power. The fact that the storm of June 29 was atypical for the area is no excuse for the widespread discomfort, loss of property, and, in a few instances, loss of life that occurred along with a very protracted response and restoration of services to many.
To my mind, this issue is every bit as pressing as some of the other hot-button issues that will be discussed in this election year. It is a known fact that weather patterns are changing: Pepco and BGE cannot justify operating with strategies from the past. Sen. Jim Rosapepe has already called for the Public Services Commission to study the issue, but before the companies argue that such a conversion would cost them too much, individual citizens need to express their outrage at the financial and personal losses they experienced. Who knows? maybe some new jobs could be created for the area without the need to build yet another gambling casino.