How Much Should We Blame BGE for the Power Outages?

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Did you lose power from the derecho storm? Do you primarily blame BGE? If so, you’re in good company. Extended power outages in the middle of a heatwave have incensed consumers and politicians who either want see the utility punished, improved, or a little bit of both.

After a major storm, BGE is required to report to the Public Service Commission, which evaluates the company’s response — the number of crews they sent, how fast they worked, etc. But should the PSC, as the Baltimore Sun opines, look at more than just the post-storm response?

We lost 20 people to the heatwave, and elected officials claim the utilities either couldn’t or wouldn’t update them with information regarding which areas were blacked out, keeping municipalities from preventing some of those deaths.

Some are seeing a pattern in power outages over the last three years, beginning with “Snowpocalpyse” and continuing with Hurricane Irene. Perhaps there are areas of the grid that tend to bear the brunt of the blackouts and shoud be tended to.

But how about just a huge fine? Say $250 for every customer who went without power for more than 36 hours? That’s what two state senators have suggested — by the way, it would total more then $100 million for BGE.

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