|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 24, 2003
|For More Information, Please Contact:
Chrys Wilson, Manager
Office of External Relations
Maryland Public Service Commission To Conduct Inquiry Into Storm Outages
Baltimore, MD - Today, the Maryland Public Service Commission ("PSC" or "Commission") instituted a consolidated inquiry to review the preparedness and performance of utilities in responding to recent major outages resulting from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Isabel beginning September 18, 2003, and severe thunderstorms that occurred August 26 - 28, 2003. This proceeding has been docketed as Case No. 8977.
Maryland's regulated utilities are required to provide reports to the Commission regarding a major storm within three weeks from the end of the storm. Thus, the Commission has directed that a consolidated report be filed with the PSC no later than October 20, 2003. After review, the Commission will conduct hearings at a date to be determined.
In 1999, the Commission took similar action after Hurricane/Tropical Storm Floyd. Under PSC Case No. 8826, the Commission reviewed utility preparedness and restoration. Therefore, the PSC has requested additional information including, but not limited to:
- Specific descriptions of the criteria and methods used for prioritizing the restoration of service. Within that process, utilities must provide a description of how they prioritize the restoration of critical facilities and vulnerable citizens during an outage.
- To the extent available, the utilities should prepare and submit an estimate of the cost of restoration, which should be updated as specific amounts become known.
- Analyses of the utility's situation and preparedness at the time of Hurricanes /Tropical Storms Floyd and Isabel, providing detailed information on the improvements or changes made to the emergency preparedness plan of the company since the occurrence of Floyd.
- Reports and information detailing support provided to local Emergency Management Agencies ("EMAs") prior to and during the disaster, as well as copies of all reports and information submitted by the utilities to the EMAs, to the extent practicable. This analysis shall also be submitted to the Commission no later than October 20, 2003. The Commission's Engineering Division will prepare and submit a consolidated report to the Commission summarizing the utilities' EMA information.
Chairman Kenneth D. Schisler states, "The first priority is to restore service to Maryland customers as safely and expeditiously as possible. The Commission is working diligently to assure that Maryland is a leader in following the best practices in restoration to minimize future customer hardships from storms."