Acquisition of Pepco Holdings as an opportunity to raise biking access (and other) issues
Pepco Holdings is an electricity distribution firm (with roots in DC's streetcar business) and owns Pepco, which distributes electricity in Maryland and DC, and other companies active in Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey.
Exelon is an electricity distribution firm with its roots in Chicago's Cons, and they purchased Baltimore Gas and Electric in 2011.
Today it was announced ("BGE parent company to acquire Pepco Holdings in $6.8 billion deal, " Baltimore Sun) that Exelon has a deal to purchase Pepco.
Utility company mergers have to be approved by the various Public Service Commissions in the states that will be impacted by the transaction.
The hearings are good opportunities to raise issues of concern to residents, although as I have written "You can't wish away the need to upgrade aging utility infrastructure" and the fact that rates will rise to deal with the issue.
Most residents are concerned about rates, reliability ("Pepco, PSC criticized at forum: Regulatory system skewed in utility’s favor, lawyer claims," Gazette) which has been a big issue with Pepco, even leading to the proposal by Montgomery County Councilman Roger Berliner that the county should take over electricity distribution because of Pepco's poor track record for reliability ("Creating publicly owned utility requires state authority," Gazette; "Press piling on Montgomery County utility dreams").
I in turn suggest we can raise the issue of trail access in transmission corridors. It happens that Baltimore Gas and Electric, which serves the Baltimore and Annapolis areas but also reaches into Montgomery County, is comparatively good about providing access for trails (many transmission corridors are converted from abandoned railroad rights of way), while Pepco is not.
As part of the hearing process, getting an agreement from Exelon to shift Pepco's practice on this item would be worthwhile.
John Wetmore, the producer of the cable access show "Perils for Pedestrians," has a nice webpage feature on walking and biking trails located within electricity transmission corridors.
He has also produced a short video contrasting Pepco with Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Company as the latter has a pipeline running through Olney, Maryland in Montgomery County, and they have allowed a trail to be constructed along the entire length. It quotes Pepco as saying:
"We do not permit or license pedestrian and/or bicycle paths that run along our right of way."