To the Editor:
The following open letter was addressed to Kevin Hughes, chairman, Maryland Public Service Commission.
We are writing to you today on behalf of our constituents. Pepco is engaging in extensive tree cutting along its right-of-way in Potomac, with significant destruction and disruption to adjacent private property owners. In response to their serious and legitimate concerns, we are asking the commission to place a two-week, temporary stay on the tree cutting until commission staff can confirm that Pepco’s proposed activities fully meet both the spirit and the letter of the commission’s regulations.
No one has fought harder for greater reliability in our community, and we fully accept that trees and power lines do not mix. Appropriate vegetation management is necessary to deliver power safely and reliably. However, there are reasonable actions that can be taken, and then there are unreasonable, destructive approaches.
Every indication in this case suggests that Pepco has gone beyond what is necessary to achieve reliability. We have heard from homeowners on Cobble Creek Circle, Bentridge Avenue, Deborah Drive, Betteker Lane, and elsewhere, that Pepco’s activities in this particular case have led, and will continue to lead, to significantly diminished quality-of-life and property values while failing to fundamentally improve service reliability. We ask that you address whether Pepco’s activities meet the commission’s own vegetation management standards, and whether the level of cutting being undertaken serves the public interest.
We urge you to use your authority to push the pause button on this increasingly divisive situation and conduct an immediately review of Pepco’s activities in this area.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. We await your response.
State Sen. Brian Feldman
Councilmember Roger Berliner