Carroll electricity co-op doubles size

March 30, 2004|By Hanah Cho | Hanah Cho,SUN STAFF

An electricity cooperative organized by the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce has accumulated about $3.5 million in buying power in an effort to solicit the best price possible when energy prices are deregulated in a few months.

The chamber has acquired 82 members for its electricity purchasing group, double the number of participants expected, said chamber President Bonnie J. Grady.

Eight energy suppliers have expressed interest in submitting bids during a daylong process in May, when cooperative members will choose a supplier or decide to find other utility providers, Grady said.

Energy deregulation, approved by the Maryland General Assembly in 1999, moves away from a system of tightly regulated electricity rates and opens up the industry to competitive pricing. State utilities agreed to limit rates for specified periods to smooth the deregulation process and protect against price spikes. Although the limits insulated customers from a volatile energy market, they also kept rates artificially low.

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