Benefit of pollution-scrubbing smoke stack comes with a cost

February 23, 2010

What a surprise to see an article praising Constellation Energy on the front page of The Sun this Saturday ("A new smokestack cleans Baltimore's air," Feb. 20). This is good news for the citizens of Baltimore as they will be breathing cleaner air than they have been in the past. It is amazing that the new technology has made the Brandon Shores Power Plant a virtual non-air polluter.

The article also mentions a cost of $1.5 billion for the pollution abatement for this project and others for a utility that provides power for 1 million households.

The Sun often features articles regarding the excessive prices local electrical utilities are charging everyone for electricity ever since price regulation ended. Although there is a valuable benefit generated by the money spent by Constellation Energy to reduce the emissions from the smoke stacks at the Brandon Shores Power Plant to only water vapor, it is not provided to us for free. The cost for these new scrubbers and other improvements in Maryland, if charged in a single year to each of BGE's 1 million customers, would add a minimum of $1,500 to electricity bills that are already considered to be too high. The benefit resulting from the new scrubbers is definitely appreciated. However, with benefits come higher costs.

Tom Decker, Severna Park

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