U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski is asking Maryland utility regulators to toughen state power reliability standards.

The Baltimore Democrat appeared Thursday before the state Public Service Commission.

Mikulski says frequent power outages for Pepco customers have a profound effect on the state's residents and the economy. Mikulski says power outages threaten health and safety and lead to lost income for businesses and revenue for the state.

Mikulski urged the commission to quickly adopt final regulations putting strong power reliability standards in place.

Pepco has been criticized for outages that have left customers in the dark for days in some instances.

A report that independent consultants released earlier this month criticized a Pepco plan to reduce outages.