BGE hears complaints from Howard County

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. - The complaints kept coming, and so did the BGE customers.

"I've given up resetting digital stuff.  I just let it flash," said Linda Spencer, of Ellicott City.    

Hundreds of people in Howard County are hot, saying their power continues to go out.  David Rubin says he almost died when his sleep apnea machine shutoff.

"I gasp for air so bad that my throat becomes damaged and infected which is what happened during the eight-day power outage following Irene," said Rubin. 

Rubin and Cathy Eshmont read the fine print and figured out if they collect 100 signatures the Public Service Commission has to investigate. 

"You ought to have some feeling that your house is your sanctuary.  You ought to have some feeling that, gee if my mother is on hospice and I want her to be at home she can be at home," said Eshmont.    

No one singled out a particular storm.  Hurricanes Irene and Isabel, along with the late June storm that kept them in the dark for days, all come to mind.  Most said the clocks are blinking quite often when they come home. 

BGE Spokesman Rob Gould says the Howard County neighborhoods don't top the list of those with feeder problems.

"When you look at the reliability of this area, it is far better than other parts of the BGE system," said Gould.    

Gould says work started over a year ago before the formal investigation began.

"We've selectively undergrounded certain portions of the neighborhoods where there have been concerns about reliability.  We've put in enhanced fuses and enhanced equipment where it makes sense to do that," he said.     

But it hasn't been enough for the people who say they sweat it out all too often, even when no storm has crossed the radar.

"It's wind.  It's always wind.  And it doesn't matter if it's accompanied by snow, rain, hurricanes.  It doesn't matter, it's wind," said Eshmont. 

The PSC will consider the complaints and could make recommendations for change.  That's completely separate from the recent storms. 

BGE will be getting another earful when the meetings on the late June power outages start next month.

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