PSC staff appeals BGE gas-rate increase

MARYLAND WATCH

October 26, 1995

The staff of the state's Public Service Commission has appealed a hearing examiner's decision granting Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. a $19.45 million annual increase in its natural gas revenues.

The appeal means the Oct. 4 decision granting BGE a 5.4 percent increase in residential gas rates will not take effect early next month. Instead, the PSC will decide by Nov. 20 whether to accept the appeal.

The PSC staff objected to the examiner's determination that ratepayers should absorb some costs associated with BGE's appliance sales and repair subsidiary.

"The staff feels BGE should not be allowed to shift those services supported by consumers to benefit shareholders," said Frank B. Fulton Jr., a PSC spokesman.

The PSC staff had recommended a $14 million annual gas-revenue increase.

BGE, which had sought a $30 million increase in its gas revenues, also appealed.

BGE had sought a 12.5 percent return on equity, up from 10.86; the examiner granted 11 percent. The utility also balked at a proposed reduction of its rate of return to 8.86 percent from 9.4 percent. BGE had asked for 9.54.

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