Yesterday, Galvin Electricity Initiative Deputy Director John Kelly testified before the Maryland House of Delegates at a hearing to stir support for an emergency bill that promotes establishing reliability standards for the state. The bill came as a result of massive electricity outages that struck several counties in Maryland last month, causing many residents to be without power for as long as five days.

"There has been a vast public outcry in the state of Maryland as many residents and businesses are upset about disruptions in power that are growing in frequency and duration," said Kelly. "The lack of effective performance metrics and standards to date has allowed utilities to operate without proper oversight. The legislation being proposed is vital in the pursuit of greater reliability and accountability from utilities."

House Bill 391, the "Maryland Electricity Service Quality and Reliability Act," seeks to set standards that utilities in Maryland must meet in delivering more reliable power to their customers. If the utility fails to meet them, the Maryland Public Service Commission will take action by implementing fines for poor performance and will direct payments back to affected ratepayers. Lawmakers have taken swift action to attempt to enact the enhanced reliability standards by July 2012.

Kelly urged legislators to consider a comprehensive set of performance metrics and standards that go beyond reliability to address the range of consumer needs and expectations and guide regulators' oversight of smart grid considerations. These metrics examine four key areas: reliability, cost transparency, consumer empowerment, and efficiency and environment.

To assist states and stakeholders in exploring reliability metrics and standards, the Galvin Electricity Initiative today released a white paper titled Electricity Reliability: Problems, Progress and Policy Solutions. It benchmarks policy best practices and can serve as a guide or discussion document for future legislation. To read the paper, visit www.galvinpower.org/reliabilitypaper