Terrance Heath writes a story of frequent and ruinous power outages in territory served by The Potomac Electric Power Company, a utility supplying electricity to Washington, D.C. and surrounding communities in Maryland. For reasons that should be obvious, Business Insider ranked Pepco the most hated company in America.
Powerless: Conservative Failure Returns Us To The Dark Ages, Terrance Heath, Campaign for America’s Future, July 5, 2012
“Actually, we were lucky this time. The latest blackout happened the night before we were due to leave on a week long family vacation. After living through at least one extended outage per year — usually in the winter, spent shivering in a home without heat. This time we spent it sitting in an air conditioned hotel, checking power restoration updates, instead of sitting in our now overheated home, in 100-plus degree heat, with the kids.
“Five days. That’s how long we would have spent sitting, sweating, and waiting. That’s how long it took before we finally got confirmation that our home had power again.
“Once we get home, we’ll have to throw out the food in the fridge, order Chinese, and make sure our son’s goldfish survived. We’ll probably wonder when the next outage will hit us.
“You see, about six years ago our previous Republican governor appointed a man with close ties to the industry to the Maryland Public Services Commission who lobotomized the commission, which is supposed to regulate utilities. MPSC has never really recovered from that “lobotomy”.
“…To add insult to injury, ThinkProgress reports that Pepco has made huge profits, paid big bonuses to employees, and appear to have paid no taxes.
“According to OurDC, Pepco spent more on lobbying than on taxes in 2010.
“Over four years, Pepco received over $817 million in federal tax breaks.
“There’s still more. And perhaps this is the most outrageous. Last year, after the five-day “thundersnow” power outage, the Washington Post reported on a little known regulation that allows Pepco to raise rates after a power outage.”