All five PSC Commissioners showed up! Imagine that! Unfortunately the sparse crowd was probably about equal in number of citizens vs. power company drones. The first speaker gave me that ol' deja vu shilly feeling when he very briefly said he supported the merger because it would mean more jobs, and probably reduced rates, but he really didn't know about any of that. Umm, yeah, kid, I think you're right about that last part. The merger only guarantees jobs for 2 years... then you're all in the old unemployment line, and that reduced rates thing is a fantasy. You obviously didn't read the filing at all -- you just did what you were told.
Next speaker was Nick Carrera, from one of the Maryland opposition groups, but I believe he was speaking personally last night. He used a map to point out how the new lines feeding out of PATH's proposed Mt. Airy substation are heading into First Energy territory. Coincidence? Nick didn't make it seem that way. Great job, Nick!!
I spoke briefly about how West Virginians were shut out of the merger in our state and because our Consumer Advocate cut a deal, there were no public hearings to attend in my own state. And speaking of that deal, Maryland should be leery of one of the "perks" we got in West Virginia, where the companies agree not to charge merger costs to ratepayers. Why? Because Allegheny's accounting is less than honest. I also shared the mention of the merger in Morningstar that was featured on The Power Line. In the article, Allegheny management confides that First Energy isn't interested in their transmission business and will probably sell it off. Last topic was First Energy's fault in the 2003 blackout. "It wasn’t until the lights went out in the First Energy control room that the First Energy personnel had a solid indication that the problem was indeed in their service territory (and not somewhere else)."
A couple of representatives from the Sierra Club spoke about the issues surrounding all the dirty energy produced by the companies, and unfortunately I missed most of it because I got notified that the interior light was on in my car back in Charles Town and the good samaritan trying to save me from a dead battery couldn't figure out how to turn it off. At least that didn't happen while I was still at the podium :-)
A gentleman complained about outrageous reconnection fees after a late payment. He was "taken care of" by Allegheny drones at the meeting. And what have the rest of us gotten by complaining about Allegheny? Oh, that's right, we get a power line in our backyards. Sweet!
Some Frederick City guy and a Frederick Chamber of Commerce guy came to the podium and brown nosed the companies in a shameless fashion in the hopes that the promised "regional headquarters" would be located in Frederick. That depends, fellas, how do you feel about a gigantic substation? What a revolting display! And that brings us to...
One more last note about my buddy Todd Meyers... who rolled his eyes and made faces while I was speaking. Is that what they taught you at PR flack school? You know, Todd, nobody could see what you were doing EXCEPT THE PSC COMMISSIONERS and a friend of mine who turned around and looked at you while I was speaking. I see there's absolutely no danger that Todd may be getting any smarter over time.
Frederick News Post's article about the hearing, where Ed Waters managed to misquote me in just one sentence. I talked about Allegheny's financials, not First Energy's.