BGE proposes hiking rates by roughly $8.53 per month per household bill

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Regional utility Baltimore Gas and Electric has filed an application with the Maryland Public Service Commission to bump up its rates and bring in an additional $133 million—translating to roughly $8.53 more per month for the average household.

In its application, filed this morning, the utility wrote that its current base rates for gas and electric service “are neither just nor reasonable and do not yield a reasonable return on the fair value of BGE’s property devoted to electric delivery or gas service.”

The company noted this is its first rate-increase request since 2015. That resulted in a monthly bump of about $5.40 that took effect this past winter.

“While we know that any proposed increase may be a challenge for some of our customers, we also know that our customers value the high level of service that they have come to expect and deserve, which only comes from continuing the significant investments that we are making in our energy delivery systems,” CEO Calvin G. Butler Jr. said in an announcement today on the firm’s website.

BGE noted its rates would still be 10 percent lower on average than a decade ago, thanks to households boosting their energy efficiency, as well as company-provided credits and other incentives and reduced commodity prices.

Tammy Bresnahan, director of advocacy for AARP Maryland, said she hasn’t yet reviewed the utility’s proposal, but expressed concerns about rate hikes—particularly for households with seniors on fixed incomes.

“They’re not used to large increases like that, and they have to make choices between either paying their bills, paying for prescription drugs and paying for their food,” she said.

The utility’s announcement today highlighted recent corporate philanthropy and employees’ volunteer service, as well as BGE’s investments in infrastructure.

BGE says it spent $1.8 billion on upgrades and maintenance last year alone. That included upgrades to circuit routes, inspections of 37,000 or so utility poles, trimming of vegetation along distribution lines, replacing gas main and more.

The Public Service Commission will conduct a public review process for BGE’s proposed rate hike, which will allow for public comments. The utility said it expects a decision from the commission in December of this year.

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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in CityLab, Slate, Baltimore City Paper, DCist and elsewhere.
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