O'Malley's wrong about electric deregulation, reliability

February 05, 2011

I am a planning analyst at BGE. In Thursday's State of the State Address, Gov. Martin O'Malley said, "There are some challenges so large we can only accomplish them together. Harnessing off-shore wind is one of them. Holding utilities accountable for reliable electric service is another. How long do you want to wait in the cold and dark for a deregulated market to solve these problems?"

Deregulation of Maryland's electricity market took place in 1999 under a Democratic governor and Democratic General Assembly, but it did not change the fundamental nature of the electric delivery business (the "wires business"). To my knowledge, deregulated electric generators in Maryland were not forced offline by the recent storms. Regulated electric distribution companies like BGE deliver electricity to our customers, as we have for decades. Storms and ice are always a challenge, as they bring down branches and power lines, but we work diligently to restore service as safely and quickly as possible.

For Martin O'Malley to blame snowstorm outages on deregulation is deceitful. The one has nothing to do with the other, and he ought to know better.

Paul Ritterhoff, Lutherville

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