Intro: The many problems with BGE’s multi-year rate hike

The Maryland Public Service Commission should reject BGE’s multi-year rate hike proposal because it will lead to outsized utility bills and increased pollution that harms our health and planet.

staff | TPIN
A BGE contractor working on the pipe replacement program in a Baltimore City neighborhood.

Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) has proposed a $602.4 million rate hike over the next three years. 

According to the Office of the People’s Counsel, an independent state agency which advocates for utility customers, BGE’s proposal would result in customers’ annual gas and electric bills being, on average, $810 more for 2026 than in 2023.

BGE hiked rates in 2022 and 2023. Now they claim they need to increase revenue again to replace old infrastructure and improve reliability and safety. But they are already spending more than $1.2 million per day on new gas infrastructure including pipes, regulators and meters. This spending goes well beyond promoting the reliability and safety of the system.  Now they want another $1.8 billion. [1]

Because BGE doesn’t have any competition in the marketplace to keep costs down, the Commission has the authority to approve or adjust the distribution rates that BGE charges their customers. 

Distribution rates are costs the utilities charge customers for the distribution of energy to their home, which are driven by infrastructure spending.

We’re calling on the Maryland Public Service Commission to reject BGE’s plan to raise rates for three main reasons, as outlined below in our 3 part series: 

  1. BGE’s proposal to spend more than $1.8 billion on unnecessary gas infrastructure is too costly and not aligned with Maryland’s climate goals.
  2. BGE is proposing excessive profits off a plan that will lock customers in on fossil fuels under the guise of “electrification.”
  3. BGE is pushing for a multi-year rate plan that reduces their financial accountability and undermines consumer protection.

*** Update ***  On August 9th, the Maryland Public Service Commission granted a motion from the Office of the People’s Counsel to strike the “Proposed Customer Electrification Plan” of the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (“BGE”) from its pending multi-year rate case.  This lowers the rate hike projection from $602 million to $602.4  million ***

[1] Total gas capital investment from BGE official filing to PSC on February 17th, 2023, page 6.

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Emily Scarr

State Director, Maryland PIRG Foundation

Emily directs strategy, organizational development, research, communications and legislative advocacy for Maryland PIRG. Recently, Emily helped win small donor public financing in Montgomery and Howard counties, and the Maryland Keep Antibiotics Effective Act to protect public health by restricting the use of antibiotics on Maryland farms. Emily also serves on the Executive Committees of the Maryland Fair Elections Coalition and the Maryland Campaign to Keep Antibiotics Working, and the Steering Committees for the Maryland Pesticide Action Network and Marylanders for Open Government. Emily lives in Baltimore with her husband and dog.