Think your gas and/or electricity bill is too high? You might want to head to George Howard Building Wednesday, for a hearing concerning Baltimore Gas and Electric’s request to raise rates.
BGE wants to raise about $175 million in the first year of the rate hike, according to the Baltimore Sun, to pay for infrastructure improvements. The rate change would raise the typical residential distribution rate for electricity about $6.62 a month and the typical gas rate by about $4.26, the Sun reports.
The utility’s last rate hike was approved more than two years ago - a $1.34 per month raise for the typical residential electric customer and 84 cents for gas, according to the Sun.
Wednesday’s hearing comes on the heels of a Howard County Council decision to ask the Public Service Commission to widen an investigation into BGE’s reliability in Ellicott City. In October, the council passed a resolution, proposed by council member Courtney Watson (D-Ellicott City), to include several additional neighborhoods into an investigation into BGE initiated by Cathy Eshmont.
Eshmont, an Ellicott City resident, has led a grassroots effort to fix what she has referred to as unreliable service in certain Ellicott City neighborhoods.
In contrast to the grassroots activity in Howard County – about 300 people signed up to speak at a hearing concerning reliability in Ellicott City -- just one person testified in Annapolis at the first of five scheduled rate hike hearings, according to the Sun.
BGE says its rate hike will fund upgrades to infrastructure, including replacing old poles and burying some equipment underground. In Ellicott City, BGE has already invested in some infrastructure projects. The company has been replacing outdated equipment, installing smart fuses, an intense round of tree-trimming and burying some lines underground.
The Public Service Commission hearing on BGE’s proposed rate hike will take place Wed., Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. in the Benjamin Banneker room of the George Howard Building. Speakers will have five minutes each.
If you’d like to submit comments in writing, you can do so by Jan. 18. Mail comments to David J. Collins, executive secretary of the Maryland Public Service Commission, William Donald Schaefer Tower, 6 St. Paul Street, 16th Floor, Baltimore, MD, 21202. Reference Case number 9299.
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This article has been edited to indicate that the hearing is Wednesday evening.