Berliner Releases Statement About Pepco/Exelon Filing
Montgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner, chair of the Montgomery County Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee, has responded to the Aug. 19 announcement of the filing of Pepco and Exelon’s proposed merger with the Maryland Public Service Commission.
“It is a fundamental responsibility of our state regulators to determine whether this proposed merger—which will result in a single utility totally dominating the state—is in the public interest,” said Councilmember Berliner. “Our Council has formally stated that should the Commission conclude it is in the public interest, it could only do so with binding commitments to superb reliability and better service to our long-suffering constituents.”
In May, the Montgomery County Council unanimously approved a resolution, introduced by Councilmember Berliner, calling upon the Public Service Commission to require “that Exelon provide substantial ratepayer benefits, including, but not limited to, quality of service equivalent to a top quartile utility within three years, and that cost recovery for investments necessary to achieve that outcome be tied to performance,” should it approve the sale.
Berliner said one significant ratepayer benefit would be the adoption of a “Utility 2.0” framework by Exelon.
Following an Executive Order of Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley in 2012, the Energy Future Coalition developed a pilot Utility 2.0 program that would fundamentally change and improve electric distribution.
Berliner formally requested the Maryland Public Service Commission open an investigation into Utility 2.0 more than a year and a half ago. Since then, the New York Public Service Commission has indicated its intention to adopt Utility 2.0.
“Utility 2.0 is the future. It will give consumers much more control over their use of electricity,” said Berliner. “It will reward utilities on the basis of how well they perform in the ways consumers value—cleaner, more reliable, more cost effective, and more energy efficient use of electricity with great customer service. That is what our constituents want and deserve. If the Commission finds that the merger is in the public interest, then the Commission should insist that Maryland and Exelon be a leader in the country in adopting Utility 2.0.”
Berliner wants residents to know that Montgomery County will work closely with the Maryland Public Service Commission as it considers the sale, in order to represent the needs of the residents of the County.
“I fully expect that our County will be a major participant in the regulatory proceedings that will determine the future of electric service in our area,” he said.