County Councilman David Marks is one of several Towson-area elected officials calling for community meetings with Baltimore Gas and Electric officials following their response to the late June "derecho" storm that knocked out power to thousands of Towson residents.
"I think they did very well under the circumstances in dealing with a surprise storm, but my job as an elected official is trying to get answers when people have questions," Marks said.
Marks said BGE officials were receptive to his request—the meeting will likely be scheduled in the next several months, he said.
The request was brought on after Marks recieved numerous emails, mostly from residents in Stoneleigh.
Many of those emails were sparked by Brian Dulay, a Sheffield Road resident who got his power back Thursday after six days off the grid.
"The result of this crisis as of Saturday is that we had what I think you would characterize as a public health crisis at this point," he said. "I'm saying why aren't we looking at this at the end and say should a family in Baltimore County in 2012 ever be without power for 8 days? I would assert no."
He appealed to neighbors in a mailing list asking residents to call for more responsiveness from the utility and a community meeting with officials. While Dulay did not get a "completely unanimous outpouring of people saying they completely agreed with it," he said most agreed that "something has to change before the next storm."
In neighborhoods like Stoneleigh, Towson Estates and Idlewylde, some residents were out for a week. Marks heard of one street in Carney, in his district, which didn't get power back until late Saturday morning.
In an article on Friday, one Patch commenter, a Towson Estates resident who got power back on Friday, expressed frustration with BGE's priorities.
"The problem was a simple branch on one line and a transformer on the other. This transformer has blown four times in the past 12 months, and it has taken BGE several days to address it while Towson Estates residents waited in cold or heat," she wrote. "I realize that this is not the worst situation in the world, but seemed to me that BGE restored power to everyone around this small community days ago and forgot this small island that is clearly on a different feeder, and that BGE needs to address antiquated transformers in this community, or this will go on and on."
Marks said BGE officials were receptive to holding a meeting, and sent him a list of what the utility is doing to prevent future outages in the Towson area, including tree-trimming and circuit upgrades in Stoneleigh and underground wiring in Wiltondale and Hampton.
BGE has three weeks from the time all customers are restored to deliver a detailed report to the state's Public Service Commission on the utility's response to the June storm.
BGE officials say that, counting the outages caused by storms later in the week, the total number of affected customers is on par with last year's Hurricane Irene.
But despite the limited warning time for June's storm, Marks said, "I think their response was much better than under Hurricane Irene." He added that BGE officials were responsive to his questions and requests.
Countywide, more than 100,000 BGE customers lost power in the storm. More than 1,900 utility workers from 18 states and three Canadian provinces assisted in recovery efforts. The last affected customers were brought back online on Sunday.