Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett today announced the results of a County survey of residents and businesses conducted earlier this year that focused on the quality of service and reliability of Pepco’s responses to past power outages experienced in the County.
Nearly 12,000 responses were received from the Customer Relations Survey conducted in January and February by the Pepco Work Group appointed by Leggett in October 2010. A total of 10, 895 residents responded, while 654 businesses completed the survey.
Among the findings reported by Pepco customers taking the survey are:
• Almost 95% reported they had experienced at least one outage of more than five hours in the past year. Just over 50% also reported that they had experienced non-major-event-related outages of more than one hour in the past year.
• The economic costs of long outages experienced in the past year can be estimated, based on reports obtained from survey respondents, from $22.9 to $114.6 million for residents in Montgomery County and $21.1 to $211 million for businesses. Pepco’s Montgomery County customers appear to be incurring outage-related costs that are on the same magnitude as Pepco’s 2010 earnings of $139 million.
• 10,430 residential respondents, or 95.7%, experienced one or more outages of longer than five hours in the past year. Of these respondents, almost 65% reported calling Pepco more than twice to check the status of the outage. Only 5% of Pepco’s residential customers reported that they did not attempt to call Pepco at all. Of those who experienced long outages, 85.5% incurred costs or other economic losses that they otherwise would not have incurred.
• 609 commercial respondents, or 94.9%, experienced one or more outages of longer than five hours in the past year. Of those who experienced long outages, 83.3% incurred costs or other economic losses that they otherwise would not have incurred.
“I was pleased with the response we received and want to thank every resident and business person who took the time to reply,” said Leggett. “The data gives us some very useful information that we can use to assess the economic impacts associated with long outages. But, it also gives us a pretty clear picture of the extent to which policy choices made by legislators are likely to be supported by Pepco customers.”
Leggett announced the results of the survey in Annapolis as part of his statement of support for three amendments – included as part of Senate Bill 692 -- that would strengthen House Bill 391. The amendments would: (1) allow the PSC to impose a penalty up to 2.5% of a company’s transmission and distribution revenues if that company fails to meet service quality and reliability standards; (2) strike the Senate Finance Committee amendment that would have delayed the imposition of penalties until 2014; and (3) require the PSC to study decoupling of rates in period of extended outages.
“The responses of approximately 10,900 residents and over 650 businesses provide compelling testimony to the fact that Pepco’s service and response to local outages – both during weather emergencies and non-emergency times – has been inadequate by any standards,” Leggett continued.
“As I pointed out last August to the Maryland Public Service Commission and have expressed to Pepco officials, we cannot overestimate the importance of developing a more stable and reliable electricity service in Montgomery County.
“Stable and reliable electricity service is a significant component of what makes a jurisdiction desirable to institutions and businesses. That’s why it is imperative that we all work together to make sure that Pepco re-establishes itself as a utility that provides stable, reliable and affordable service to its customers.”
To see the entire survey report, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov and click on Pepco Work Group Customer Satisfaction Survey results.
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