Montgomery Co., MD Considering Microgrid As Response to Derecho Blackout

Take a look at this story.  Instead of relying on Pepco, the power company that failed them during the 2012 derecho blackout, the Montgomery County Council is studying establishing its own power company based on local microgrids.  So far, this topic has never been raised in WV, in either the 2009 blackout investigation or the investigation of the same 2012 derecho blackout.

Here’s what’s happening:

County Council President Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Potomac) says Montgomery County can serve as a national model of a responsive and efficient electric utility operation, a far cry from the oft-criticized system of today.

To do it, the county would have to wade through the potentially difficult process of negotiating changes with Pepco, the privately-held utility company that provides most of the county’s electricity and that was once named the “most hated company in America.”

Berliner labeled Thursday’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee meeting on the topic as the opening act of a “Utility 2.0″ program.

“Here we have an investor-owned utility that has its own economic interests and a business model,” Berliner said Monday. “We need to change this. We need to experiment.”

Berliner, an energy lawyer who has taken a leading role after the June derecho left thousands without power, envisions the type of microgrid technology — solar power or other means that provide decentralized power to specific communities — that has served institutions in the county well.

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