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BGE Seeks Rate Increase

The utility said it is its second request for an electricity rate increase in 20 years.

Three days after , which was part of an investigation into the reliability of BGE service in parts of the Ellicott City, the utility company announced that it has filed for a rate increase. 

A statement from the company released Friday night says that the “typical total residential electric bill is expected to increase by $7.22 per month” and the “typical residential total gas bill is expected to increase by $4.62 per month.”

According to the statement, BGE plans to invest $3 billion in capital over the next five years in infrastructure maintenance and upgrades.

“We realize that any increase in our electricity and gas distribution rates can be a burden for our customers, particularly given today’s difficult economic times,” BGE CEO Kenneth W. DeFontes Jr. said in the statement.

“The adjustments we have requested position BGE to continue to make essential upgrades, with an emphasis on modernizing our infrastructure for enhanced reliability and safety,” he added.

Tuesday’s hearing was in response to a complaint filed with the Public Service Commission (PSC) by Cathy Eshmont, a Dunloggin resident who has spearheaded Reliability4HoCo in attempts to fix what she and residents of nearby neighborhoods say has been unreliable service by BGE.

"There is no understandable rationale for this rate hike," Eshmont said in an email Friday evening.

"BGE receives big bucks each year in upkeep fees from every customer in every monthly bill; those fees are to be used to do the kinds of upgrades and modernization that BGE describes in their request."  

In its statement, BGE said the rate increase was requested in order to make “essential upgrades, with an emphasis on modernizing our infrastructure for enhanced reliability and safety," and noted it has increased tree and vegetation management by $11.5 million between 2007 and 2012, "and the company expects this increased level of spending to continue," the statement reads.

The PSC has also scheduled additional hearings across the state to hear from residents about their experiences with the utilities during the powerful  storm that .

"I am surprised with BGE's outsized chutzpah," Eshmont said. "Despite the derecho hearings not having yet happened when we all admire how poorly BGE performed -- here they are asking for a rate increase."

Last week, requested by Pepco which would raise the typical customer's monthly bill by $2.02.

Read more about BGE, Pepco and the PSC:

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Linda Hayes July 28, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Noooooooo!!! I'm director of a crisis helpline in Howard County, one of the state's and country's wealthiest counties. We spend every weekday trying to help residents, who can't afford the current BGE rates, from having their power turned off. Or helping others get it turned back on so they don't lose their housing (yes, that can happen.) These folks and many tens of thousands of state residents struggle futilely to try to keep up with the current rates, how can they possibly afford to pay even more?
Linda Hayes July 28, 2012 at 12:41 AM
P.S. - on a personal note, I live in Worthington, one of the older Howard County communities that has suffered from countless power outages each year, many of them for several days (a couple of times for six very long days.) Numerous of those outages occurred in perfectly clear weather. I was raised to believe that you had to do a job very well before you got a raise. While BGE has so many hardworking employees, the organization itself doesn't seem to be doing an adequate job, much less one deserving of a raise!
Nicholas Aleshin July 28, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Whoever or whatever the authority is who regulates and grants such price increases should require BGE to first demonstrate that their service has improved dramatically before any rate increase is allowed. It's the only just way to do this. However, with the current crop of rotten Democrat politicians running Maryland (and Howard County), they'll probably grant it and even get to skim off the top. I don't know if BGE employees belong to a labor union, but if they do (it's the "legal" way to launder money) then BGE and the politicians are already in bed together, and we're screwed. So, Ellicott City citizens, which of the above courses of action (COA) do you consider more likely, 1) the "Just" COA, or the 2) "Rotten Democrat Politician" COA?
cathy eshmont July 28, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Please join the 2nd reliability petition by leaving a message on FB Reliability4HOCO. We plan to take the 2nd petition to the PSC, and launch an investigation into a whole different group of HOCO neighborhoods' reliability problems (than the first successful petition covered). Off and on, I've heard from Worthington residents that there's a problem in that neighborhood, but nobody has ever stepped forward to say they'll sign and get some neighbors in Worthington to sign.
Responsible Citizen July 31, 2012 at 12:46 AM
BGE is requesting a rate increase so as to find a way around the PSC's ruling back in January which stated that subsequent to a power outage a utility is only permitted to recoup from its customers a portion of those revenues lost to them during the first 24 hours of the outage. Accordingly, I and many others are adamantly opposed to any rate increase, no matter how small it is. However, since we consumers never seem to be heard by the PSC anyway when it comes to matters such as this, we urge that if BGE is permitted to increase their rates, that 100% of all revenue generated from such an increase be ordered by the PSC to go directly towards upgrading their infrastructure, to include burying lines and investing in 21st century technology. After all, interest rates for borrowing money are the lowest in U.S. history, making this the best time ever for BGE to begin such a long-term upgrading plan. Utilities in other municipalities throughout the United States, including many that are much less prosperous than ours, have launched similar projects over the past few years and are already well on their way to power reliability.
MS August 02, 2012 at 02:55 PM
BGE's request for a rate increase is for distribution charges. BGE already raised the price they charge for the energy they deliver. BGE's price for residential electricity supply is now 21 percent above competitive market prices. BGE's price for natural gas supply 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 it. There is no service interruption. Nothing is connected or disconnected.

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