Md. needs reliable power -- now

August 24, 2012

I read the article ("Panel grapples with power grid concerns," Aug. 22) describing the challenges facing Gov. Martin O'Malley's new commission studying reliability issues and just shook my head. The problem is that top management was told about reliability problems, decrepit infrastructure, lack of coordinated operations upgrades, etc., and they chose to ignore these problems for decades because the utilities are owned and operated by corporations that have to deliver profits for its investors. The larger the profits, the bigger the bonuses for senior management while the Maryland grid continues to decay. In short, the investor expectations continues to trump the welfare of the community.

The time for commission studies and round tables has long passed. It is time to take cogent, measurable steps. Problem areas have been identified (ask the protesting customers without power for a week or more) but utilities don't want to invest in the upgrades because of cost. Such considerations are no longer an acceptable excuse. This stalling action has and will cost dearly, but this is the cost of no action for decades by the utilities. They don't need to go to the public utilities commission for rate increases to do what they should have done long ago. This time, the utilities pay a debt that is long overdue.

Martha Edgeworth, Essex

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