PSC's attorney tardy for hearing on lawsuit

May 31, 2006|By ANDREW A. GREEN

The Public Service Commission got off to a rocky start yesterday in its defense against Baltimore's lawsuit to force a new hearing on a BGE plan to defer rate increases. The judge delayed the start of the hearing because the commission's attorney hadn't shown up.

After 20 minutes, Circuit Judge Albert J. Matricciani Jr. started the proceedings anyway. Matricciani said he had been told that a water main break in the building where the PSC has its headquarters had prevented the commission's attorney from arriving.

"I don't know why that would affect their ability to be here," Matricciani said. "I don't have any idea why counsel would assume the hearing would be off."

PSC spokeswoman Christine E. Nizer said after the hearing that the attorney, Miles H. Mitchell, called the court yesterday morning and got the impression that the hearing had been canceled.

"As soon as he found out, he came here in an expeditious fashion," Nizer said. "Unfortunately, it was a miscommunication."

Mitchell rushed into the courtroom about an hour and 15 minutes after the hearing's scheduled start. Nizer, who watched the hearing from the audience, was there on time.

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