Outage outrage: The politics of electricity

As for O’Malley, utility regulation is one of the classic challenges of government, requiring persistence and attention to detail. O’Malley might have proved himself with White House-level competence by dealing with Pepco. Instead he has done nothing, while gallivanting around the nation promoting himself. Sunday, with a power crisis at home, the governor was more interested in engaging in self-promotion on Face the Nation. O’Malley’s abysmal performance in his own state makes his claim to national leadership seem a practical joke.

First, the utility situation. Last year Business Insider rated Pepco “the most hated company in America.” A 2010 Washington Post series found, “In reliability studies, the company ranks near the bottom in keeping the power on and bringing it back once it goes out.”…

Given how bad Pepco is, O’Malley would seem to have a tremendous opportunity to make his mark as a reformer, bringing a tainted regulatory hierarchy to heel. This is especially true because Maryland law assigns all authority over power utilities to the state level — there’s nothing the Montgomery County Council can do. If O’Malley runs for the presidency, his performance in Annapolis would be expected to be his strongest credential.

That’s if he was in Annapolis. O’Malley openly ignores his own state to travel elsewhere.

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