Berliner and Feldman Ask PSC to Halt Pepco’s Tree Cutting

pepco1In a joint letter on Oct. 31, Montgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner (D-1) and Maryland State Senator Brian Feldman (D-15), who both represent Potomac, asked the Public Service Commission to place a temporary, two-week stay on expansive tree cutting currently going on along Pepco right-of-way in Potomac.

The letter argued that the Commission should use the time afforded by the stay to ensure that Pepco is in compliance with state regulations governing tree cutting.

“Pepco is engaging in extensive tree cutting along its right-of-way in Potomac, with significant destruction and disruption to adjacent private property owners,” the letter stated. “In response to their serious and legitimate concerns, we are asking the Commission to place a two-week, temporary stay on the tree cutting until Commission staff can confirm that Pepco’s proposed activities fully meet both the sprit and the letter of the Commission’s regulations.”

While Pepco often maintains that the tree trimming is necessary to improve system reliability, Senator Feldman and Councilmember Berliner, who were leaders in pushing earlier legislation on utility reliability, wrote in the letter that Pepco’s current activities in Potomac go far beyond reasonable measures for keeping trees away from power lines.

“No one has fought harder for greater reliability in our community, and we fully accept that trees and power lines do not mix. Appropriate vegetation management is necessary to deliver power safely and reliably,” said Councilmember Berliner and Senator Feldman. “Every indication in this case suggests that Pepco has gone beyond what is necessary to achieve reliability. We have heard from homeowners on Cobble Creek Circle, Bentridge Avenue, Deborah Drive, Betteker Lane, and elsewhere, that Pepco’s activities in this particular case have led, and will continue to lead, to significantly diminished quality-of-life and property values while failing to fundamentally improve service reliability.”

You can read Senator Feldman’s and Councilmember Berliner’s full letter below:

October 31, 2014

Kevin Hughes, Chairman
Maryland Public Service Commission
William Donald Schaefer Tower
6 St. Paul St., 16th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21202

Dear Chairman Hughes:

We are writing to you today on behalf of our constituents. Pepco is engaging in extensive tree cutting along its right-of-way in Potomac, with significant destruction and disruption to adjacent private property owners. In response to their serious and legitimate concerns, we are asking the Commission to place a two-week, temporary stay on the tree cutting until Commission staff can confirm that Pepco’s proposed activities fully meet both the sprit and the letter of the Commission’s regulations.

No one has fought harder for greater reliability in our community, and we fully accept that trees and power lines do not mix. Appropriate vegetation management is necessary to deliver power safely and reliably. However, there are reasonable actions that can be taken, and then there are unreasonable, destructive approaches.

Every indication in this case suggests that Pepco has gone beyond what is necessary to achieve reliability. We have heard from homeowners on Cobble Creek Circle, Bentridge Avenue, Deborah Drive, Betteker Lane, and elsewhere, that Pepco’s activities in this particular case have led, and will continue to lead, to significantly diminished quality-of-life and property values while failing to fundamentally improve service reliability. We ask that you address whether Pepco’s activities meet the Commission’s own vegetation management standards, and whether the level of cutting being undertaken serves the public interest.

We urge you to use your authority to push the pause button on this increasingly divisive situation and conduct an immediately review of Pepco’s activities in this area.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We await your response.

Sincerely,

Senator Brian Feldman Councilmember Roger Berliner
District 15 District 1
Chairman,
Transportation, Infrastructure,
Energy and Environment Committee

Like this post? Sign up for our Daily Update here.
Sonya Burke

About Sonya Burke

Sonya Burke is the Multimedia Manager at Montgomery Community Media (MCM). You can email story ideas at sburke@mymcmedia.org or reach her on Twitter @SonyaNBurke.

Comments

| No comments yet.



Engage us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter