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BGE Asks for Rate Increase to Upgrade Grid

Baltimore Gas and Electric filed a request Friday with the state to increase the monthly rates Maryland customers pay in order to make improvements to its power system.

Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) customers could soon see their electric bills go up by $7.22 per month and their gas bills by $4.62 per month, according to the Capital Gazette.

The company filed a request Friday with Maryland's Public Service Commission (PSC) to increase gas and electric distribution rates for both residential and commercial customers.

“There’s never a good time to seek a rate adjustment, especially now that we know so many of our customers are struggling in this economy,” BGE spokesman Rob Gould told the Capital. “But not making these adjustments is not an alternative if we want to keep delivering (gas and electric) efficiently, reliably and safely to our customers.”

BGE plans to spend about $3 billion on systems improvements over the next five years. 

Mark Case, BGE vice president of strategy and regulatory affairs, told the Capital that rate increases are in no way related to the June 29 storm that caused power outages for more than 93,000 customers in Anne Arundel County.

“The modernization of electric and gas systems is something that’s been under way for a while,” Case told the Capital. 

BGE's modernization plan includes potentially burying power lines. An idea that was also proposed Wednesday by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD) as part an executive order calling for a 60-day study on how to improve Maryland's power grid.

O'Malley said he wants to evaluate whether burying electric lines makes financial sense. According to the Capital, some estimates put burial costs at more $1 million per mile.

Paula Carmody, the head of the state Office of People’s Counsel told the Capital, “We will certainly scrutinize and challenge BGE’s request.” 

The counsel recently fought . PSC decided earlier this month to reject $50 million of Pepco's proposed $68 million rate increase.

Carmody questioned the timing rate increase request given that the PSC is examining BGE's preformance in restoring power after the June 29 storm. The request also follows the merger between Exelon and Constellation Energy—BGE's parent company.

“I don’t think anybody’s idea of a successful result of a merger is an increase in rates paid by residential customers,” Carmody said.

The PSC is expected make a decision on BGE’s rate adjustment request in February 2013.

tom July 28, 2012 at 12:35 AM
PSC normally goes along with whatever BGE wants. If they don't get it as a rate increase, they'll let them collect it as a "fee" of some sort. All the supposed money saving plans for consumers are offset by added fees. BGE should have reinvested a portion of their past profits to upgrade the grid instead of acting like it suddenly became an issue. BGE is no longer the "good neighbor" company it was when we called them Baltimore Gas & Electric. Now they're just a piece of a greedy conglomerate.
SFBMoore July 29, 2012 at 12:44 AM
This is a bit of an insult after what happened in the last storm! How about an audit of their existing expenses first? How much is paid in very high executive salaries and dividends to the shareholders? How much is wasted in publicity to cover themselves? Isn't it time to ask them to be more efficient, to plan better, and to use their R&D budgets to improve their systems?
On August 13th at 7pm, the public service commission will be holding a hearing in the Joint Session Room (legislative services building) in Annapolis to hear comments from the utility provider as well as the public about the storm. Come provide them your thoughts on the rate increase
MS August 02, 2012 at 03:20 PM
BGE's request for a rate increase is for distribution charges. BGE already raised the price for the electricity and natural gas that they deliver. BGE's price for residential electricity supply is now 21 percent above market and their price for natural gas supply, which BGE raised Aug 1, is now 7.5% above market. You can choose the energy company that supplies electricity and natural gas to you through BGE and get your energy at a lower price. BGE delivers it, but you pay less for it. Here are the numbers - BGE now charges residential (schedule R) customers 9.862 cents per kWh for the electricity supply portion of their service. Washington Gas Energy Services (WGES) will supply electricity through BGE to you for 7.8 cents per kWh. The same for natural gas - BGE's current price for natural gas supply is 56.22 cents per therm. WGES will supply natural gas through BGE to you for 51 cents per therm. To see your price options, go to www.wges.com . Where it asks "New to WGES? Enter your promo code here" enter code " EAHOME-EA1016 ". The code will get you WGES' promotional pricing. If you enroll your BGE accounts with WGES, BGE will continue to deliver your electricity and natural gas as always, respond to issues, and handle the billing as before - but you will pay less for the energy you use. There is no service interruption. Nothing is connected or disconnected.
Paul May 02, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Google "cheapest electric rates in BGE" and you'll find information on groups out there that are cheaper than BGE.

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