The couple, which owns Tersiguel's restaurant on Main Street in Ellicott City, has also experienced multiple power outages at their business, though fewer than at their home.

"I will say as a business, BGE was more responsive but not very forthcoming," Tersiguel said. "Anyone who has a small business knows that time is money."

Kristy Mumma, who owns Stuart Technologies Inc., a company located on Deepage Drive in Columbia that helps other small businesses solve technology problems, knows all about the monetary effect.

"When the power is out, productivity is down to almost nil but our labor costs continue, (and) we are losing revenue when our staff can't work," Mumma said. She cited spending $8,000 to pay employees for time they were prevented from working during six power outages over the course of five months.


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Several of the speakers took jabs at BGE, saying the utility company should be more accountable and proactive.

"BGE needs to improve its management practices and learn that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," said Mary Lou Boris, whose family has had chronic outages for decades at their home on Whitegate Road.

No one from BGE or the PSC spoke at the hearing, but BGE spokesman Rob Gould attended.

In a emailed statement Wednesday, Gould said: "BGE appreciates the concerns expressed by some Howard County residents. The fact is most Howard County customers experience reliable electric service, though we acknowledge there are certain communities within the county where our customers’ expectations have not been met. Since 2010, BGE has worked diligently with these communities to enhance reliability through strategic tree trimming, selective undergrounding, overhead line enhancements and other improvements."

 

In addition to investigating the chronic outages, the resolution asks that the PSC require BGE to provide the county with detailed outage information, including addresses of affected residences, for places where power has not been restored within 24 hours after an outage. Watson said this provision is aimed at making sure county emergency operations teams can get resources to people who are without power for long periods of time.

The council is scheduled to vote on the resolution Oct. 1 in the George Howard Building in Ellicott City. The council is asking neighborhoods that want to be included in the investigation to email addresses and a summary of outage history to councilmail@howardcountymd.gov.