Md. politicians are in BGE's back pocket

February 16, 2011

Liz Kay's article, "Answering the call," which appeared February 13 in The Baltimore Sun, has prompted me to respond.

Since 1992 I have been trying to prevail on BGE to hire more restoration power crews to enable them to provide a more efficient and rapid service for restoring power to its customers during power outages. Until this crucial step is taken, customers will continue to be the victims of unacceptable delays in bringing back power. Unfortunately, my efforts to date to get BGE to arrive at a reasonable ratio of power crews to customers can be viewed as a struggle for several reasons.

• The upper management of Constellation-BGE care more about profits and public relations than about good customer service. They don't realize that unduly long power outages are more than just a matter of inconvenience; they become matters of public safety and health hazards when people are forced to be without power for a long number of hours and days.

• The Maryland State Public Service Commission, which is supposed to regulate BGE, has become a rubber stamp for the governors of Maryland. What's more, the governor and members of the Maryland State legislature have become polished puppets of Constellation-BGE.

• The People's Counsel has become merely a lip-service entity for the people she and her staff are supposed to protect.

Over a year ago I filed a lawsuit against the Maryland Public Service Commission for what I believed was a violation of the open meetings act when the commission approved the Constellation-BGE merger in closed session. On Feb. 9, a state court hearing was finally held in the case. The judge, another appointee of a Maryland governor, dismissed the case asserting that it was too little, too late. (The lateness was due to an error on the part of the circuit court clerk, who misplaced my brief.)

The solution for better service from BGE and other utilities is for the electorate to stop sending back to office self-promoting, careerist, opportunistic politicians and to replace them with ethical public servants.

Ralph Jaffe, Pikesville

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