September 16, 2009
This week the Maryland Public Service Commission began a public hearing into Constellation Energy's proposed $4.5 billion sale of half its nuclear assets to a huge French company, EDF. As currently proposed, the deal appears to be a good one for Constellation's CEO and his shareholders but presents enormous risks and no real benefits for more than 1.1 million ratepayers who depend on BGE to provide a vital service at reasonable rates. The PSC and the state have taken an active role in this proceeding not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because we have a legal obligation to do so. If not, we would abdicate our responsibility to protect the interests of BGE customers from Constellation - the same company that brought BGE to the verge of bankruptcy almost one year ago due to speculative trading practices and a massive $1.8 billion accounting error, while simultaneously bestowing an $87 million golden parachute on its CEO, according to a 2009 SEC filing.
February 8, 2013
I don't understand why utilities are asking for or would be granted the right to charge ratepayers to fund capital improvements like replacing aging infrastructure ("Utility surcharge bill advances in Senate," Feb. 6). Haven't we ratepayers been paying for these depreciating assets all along over their lifetimes? Isn't it the responsibility of the owners (stockholders, etc.) to provide capital? Why should ratepayers be "taxed" to cover costs that are rightly the responsibility of owners?
August 20, 1993
Did the Public Service Commission give the C&P Telephone Co. an extraordinarily favorable write-off of a huge pension obligation in order to help C&P pay for a fiber-optic network linking together every high school and college in Maryland?That's the impression left by the confluence of these two events. C&P's ratepayers, it appears, will indeed be footing a hefty portion of the bill for this statewide fiber-optic telecommunications system.That's not the way C&P is promoting this project, though.
February 16, 2012
Environmental expert Alex Pavlak pointed out some interesting facts regarding Governor O'Malley's offshore wind farm idea ("The energy is clean, but the system for getting it is not," Feb. 10). The governor's goal is to produce one-fifth of our energy needs by green methods by 2022. Mr. Pavlak points out that green energy costs roughly four times as much to produce as our current generators. A little simple math shows the average cost per kilowatt hour would double in today's dollars.
October 30, 1990
Customers of public utilities in Delaware, Virginia and 20 other states may be able to cut their monthly bills a little by asking courts to declare a portion of their rates unconstitutional in the wake of Supreme Court action yesterday.A brief order by the nation's highest court implied that ratepayers in some states -- excluding Maryland -- could file suits charging that utility stockholders, not customers, should pay for a utility's donations to charities.Maryland's Public Service Commission ruled in 1962 that utility companies could not pass through their charitable donations to ratepayers, said PSC spokesman Frank Fulton.
February 27, 2008
Part of the settlement that was designed to open the state's electricity market to competition and lower prices could turn into a "billion-dollar windfall" for BGE's parent company - one paid for by the utility's customers, the Public Service Commission said during a hearing yesterday. But representatives for Constellation Energy Group Inc. said that scenario was unlikely to come from payments for the nuclear power plant portion of the 1999 settlement, which was agreed to by the company and state leaders.