Meeting demanded with BG&E

March 07, 1994|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,Sun Staff Writer

A group of more than 200 Baltimore ministers today issued a demand to meet with the head of Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. to investigate new ways to protect the poor from having their power cut off.

Their demand was a response to a recent fire that killed nine people -- seven of them children -- in a Hollins Street rowhouse that had no electricity because the family had a delinquent bill of $1,600.

In a news conference today at the Enon Baptist Church in West Baltimore, the ministers said they want to meet with BG&E chairman Christian H. Poindexter this week.

Zel,.2l The ministers said BG&E should have greater sensitivity toward poor customers, ensuring that situations that led to last week's fire don't happen again.

A BG&E spokesman said that the company had just learned of the ministers' concerns and would investigate them. Mr. Poindexter said last week that he was looking for a new plan to handle power cutoffs.

"I want to get us out of the business of being the final arbiter in making a decision" to cut off electricity, he said. "Before the next winter, I hope to have some better arrangement between us and all the social agencies."

Last week, he ordered the company to turn the power back on through April for customers who can demonstrate that they are hardship cases.

The ministers were concerned that the city's poor are not receiving compassion from BG&E. They agreed on the importance of paying electric bills but asked the company to consider "humane aspects" before cutting off energy to a residence.

"We have to get beyond profits and get to people," said Rev. Sy Peterka, of the Immaculate Conception Church downtown. "Even if people are irresponsible . . . there is something unjust when they turn off gas and electric."

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