Electricity forum to draw candidates, but not Pepco -- Gazette.Net


Only candidates for elected office and the media will be welcomed to attend a November forum on Montgomery’s electric reliability woes.

The county’s primary supplier of electricity, Pepco, is not invited.

Abbe Milstein said her organization, Powerupmontco, is hosting the forum in North Bethesda on Nov. 6 to educate potential future lawmakers on Montgomery’s issues with the Maryland Public Service Commission and electric reliability.

Candidates will be there to listen and ask questions, not to speak, she said.

The forum, she said, is intended to educate the candidates, not the general public.

Milstein formed Powerupmontco in response to the June 2012 derecho that left her and thousands of other residents without power for days.

Through the organization, Milstein since has lobbied in Annapolis and intervened as a party in Pepco’s last rate case, in which it was awarded $27 million in higher rates and $24 million in new fees.

Both Democratic and Republican incumbents and candidates for state office (including the General Assembly) will be invited to the Nov. 6 forum, which is sponsored by the AARP, she said.

Milstein said she will be joined by Somerset Town Councilwoman Cathy Pickar and representatives of AARP in Maryland in addressing the candidates and fielding their questions.

Milstein said she received an email from Pepco’s regional vice president Jerry Pasternak detailing that a reporter — who was not identified — told him Pepco was invited to the forum.

Pasternak wrote that he “plans on attending and looks forward to seeing you.”

Milstein said Pepco is not welcome to attend and that she has told the Pepco the same.

The forum also is not open to the general public, she noted.

Rather than comment on the situation, Pepco authorized Pasternak to forward the Business Gazette his email response to Milstein.

Pasternak expressed disappointment at Milstein’s decision to not welcome Pepco to the forum.