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Hearing on BGE Rate Hike Wednesday

The utility is asking for an increase - have your say at a public hearing in Ellicott City.

Think your gas and/or electricity bill is too high? You might want to head to George Howard Building this week, 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 The company has been replacing outdated equipment, installing smart fuses, an intense round of tree-trimming and burying some lines underground.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.

Related:

- Council Asks for Expanded Investigation into BGE Service

- BGE Reliability 'We Thought it was Just Us'

- Back to the Future: When Baltimore First Debated Undergrounding

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MS January 16, 2013 at 04:10 PM
This hearing is on BGE's request is increase it's distribution (delivery) rates. There are 2 main components to BGE's electricity and natural gas service. They are 1) the cost of the electricity or natural gas supplied, and 2) the cost to deliver it to a property. BGE already has approval from the MD Public Service Commission to increase the price it charges for the electricity (commodity) it supplies. On June 1 BGE is raising the price of the electricity it supplies to residential (Schedule R) customers from 8.94 cents per kWh to 10.474 cents per kWh - a 16.8% increase. BGE customers have the right to choose the energy company that supplies the electricity delivered to them by BGE. When you do this, you can get your electricity supply at a lower price. Washington Gas Energy Service (WGES) offers to supply electricity for BGE customers for 8.4 cents per kWh for one year. It is a fixed-price; it will remain at 8.4 cents even when BGE increases its price to 10.474. To enroll your residence for WGES' electricity supply, go to www.wges.com . Where it asks " New to WGES? Enter your promo code here " enter code " EAHOME-EA1016 ". This code will get you WGES' 8.4 cents price. BGE will continue to deliver your electriity as before, respond to issues, read the meter, and do the billing. None of that changes - but you will pay less for the electricity you use. There is no service interruption. Nothing is connected or disconnected.

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