Parents of Deanna Green Decry Maryland House of Delegates' Actions Regarding Bill Named After Their Late Daughter

Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:18am EDT

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Anthony and Nancy Green have demanded that their daughter's name be
removed from Maryland House Bill 520, saying they will not allow the
utilities, the Maryland Public Service Commission and the Maryland House
of Delegates to use their deceased daughter's name to give the public a
false sense of safety and placate the interests of utility companies like

    The Deanna Camille Green Act of 2012 was gutted and stripped under the
pretext of committee amendments in a House of Delegates Subcommittee
Tuesday afternoon, rendering it essentially inconsequential. 

    As introduced, the bill would have required utility companies throughout
Maryland to detect and repair their own faulty equipment which could
cause lethal electrical leaks in public rights-of-way across the State,
such as the leak that led to the fatal electrocution of 14-year-old
Deanna Green in 2006. The method of testing required under the bill has
uncovered more than 1000 dangerous voltage leaks electrifying sidewalks,
fences, and other everyday objects across Maryland. As "amended," the
bill is void of all utility testing requirements and public protections.
It simply commissions a study of contact voltage in Maryland and the
technology available to detect it. 

    "The utilities must provide adequate maintenance of their infrastructure
so that public safety in ensured. We've studied this issue enough," said
Mr. Green in response to the House subcommittee amendments. "We grant the
utilities the privilege to operate their electric systems beneath our
public streets and sidewalks. They must be held accountable."

    At the House of Delegates' Committee hearing on the bill, Maryland Public
Service Commission (PSC) Chairman Douglas Nazarian, whose term there is
nearing an end, offered extensive comments to the House Committee
expressing his displeasure with it. Neither he nor the utility companies
serving Maryland dispute the existence of the danger of contact voltage
hazards in the state and Nazarian's testimony explicitly acknowledged
that it is BGE's current standard practice to test all publicly
accessible conductive surfaces within Baltimore City. Yet his comments
were largely critical of the bill, based upon a purported lack of
competition as well as minimal additional costs resulting from the
testing required. 

    He began his lengthy testimony by erroneously stating that there is one
company able to provide the contact voltage detection technology mandated
by the bill as introduced. In reality, there are multiple vendors capable
of providing voltage leak testing, which is being performed successfully
by utilities in more than 40 cities across the United States. Earlier
this month, PEPCO commenced the organization of a competitive
demonstration of the various technologies and vendors capable of
performing these tests and sent out an email solicitation seeking vendor

    "I believe Mr. Nazarian is overestimating the costs of necessary testing
and weighing cost against public safety," Mr. Green said. "The tragedy
that struck our family will happen again. Mr. Nazarian and the dozens of
utility lobbyists who are opposing this bill will have additional
families to answer to." 

    While the lobbyists' efforts appear to have been successful in the House,
the Greens and their hundreds of supporters remain hopeful the Senate
will not be swayed by the utilities' propaganda. 

    "As citizens, we're granted the privilege to operate motor vehicles. If
we fail to adequately maintain them, the privilege is taken away from us
in order to ensure safety on our streets and highways. It's no different
here," stated Nancy Green. "We grant the utilities the privilege to
operate their electric systems beneath our public streets and sidewalks.
If the utilities are unwilling to adequately maintain their electric
systems to ensure pedestrian safety, they must be required to or risk
losing the privilege to operate their equipment in our communities."

    She and her husband are counting on the Maryland Senate to agree.

    Deanna's Lyric Foundation was founded to honor the memory of Deanna
Camille Green, who was fatally electrocuted on May 5, 2006 when she
touched a fence energized by electricity stemming from a faulty
underground wire while playing softball at Baltimore's Druid Hill Park.
Since her death, Deanna's parents Anthony and Nancy Green have worked
tirelessly toward the passage of legislation nationwide to protect
against the invisible danger that is contact voltage.


Anthony Green

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