A pair of local power reliability advocates are asking members of the Maryland State Senate to reconsider the newest appointment to the state’s Public Service Commission, which makes rulings on rate requests from utility companies such as Pepco.
Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) swore in energy attorney and former New Jersey utility executive Anne E. Hoskins as the fifth commissioner on the Public Service Commission or PSC.
Abbe Milstein, a North Bethesda resident and founder of PowerUpMontco, and Catherine Eshmont, organizer of Reliability4HowardCounty, sent a letter to state senators arguing against the appointment because of Hoskins’ history as senior vice president for public affairs and sustainablity for the Public Service Enterprise Group, a publicly-traded energy company based in Newark, N.J.
The letter cites PSEG’s pollution record. PSEG is the largest electric provider in New Jersey, with about 2.2 million customers.
“Voters might question why the Governor of the state of Maryland would appoint to the Public Service Commissioner a former utility executive whose company has one of the worst track records in the nation for nuclear contamination of the State of New Jersey,” the letter reads. “Grid Resiliency might be the least of our worries once Anne is a Commissioner on the Maryland Public Service Commission.”
The letter also questions why O’Malley didn’t appoint a fifth PSC commissioner during the last General Assembly. The commission of five people was down to four when it ruled on Pepco’s last rate increase in July. One commissioner indicated he did not want to vote for a controversial “tracker” payment for Pepco, but felt obligated to in order to avoid a 2-2 stalemate on the Commission.
“I am pleased that Anne has agreed to serve the people of Maryland during this critical time,” O’Malley said in an Aug. 14 press release announcing the appointment. “As an expert in clean energy and climate change, Anne understands the importance of ensuring a resilient electric grid for all Marylanders in the face of increasingly severe weather. I am confident she will help push the state forward on its ambitious goals while protecting the interests of hardworking Maryland families.”