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Utility bill changes coming because of new cost recovery method for utility-administered efficiency programs

You may notice that the EmPOWER surcharge on your energy bills—which funds important energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction programs that can save you money—has recently increased. This change is due to a 2022 decision by the Public Service Commission that ultimately will save utility customers millions by eliminating a large unpaid balance on which the utilities have been earning returns. The unpaid balance on which customers have been paying the utilities a return is similar to carrying credit card debt and paying interest on it. As the balance is paid down, the Commission’s decision will lead to temporary increases in the EmPOWER surcharge for customers of BGE, Delmarva Power & Light, Pepco, Potomac Edison, SMECO, and Washington Gas Light through 2026. But after 2026, the surcharge will be lower than it would have been without this Commission decision. For more information, click below.

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OPC is celebrating 100 years

When the Maryland General Assembly created the People’s Counsel in 1924, only about half of American homes had electricity, few Maryland households had refrigerators, and it would be decades before air conditioners, color TVs, and internet service were commonplace in Marylanders’ homes. As the first consumer advocate office in the nation, the Maryland People’s Counsel’s early work focused as much on monopolies over streetcars and toll bridges as it did electric and gas utilities.

Today, we no longer have streetcars to regulate, competitive markets have replaced regulation for most telecommunications, and OPC’s work involves technologies and issues that would have been fodder for science fiction in 1924.

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Updated gas spending report and petition on long-term gas planning

OPC released an updated gas utility spending report that provides critical information on current and future business-as-usual spending to maintain and expand the gas delivery system—the pipes, concrete, computers, and other infrastructure that make up the local distribution system. The updated report provides important information about future gas bills in the absence of reversals in current practices. The new data show significantly increased spending plans based on utility proposals pending before the Public Service Commission. The data relied on is publicly available information from utility reports and regulatory filings. While actual utility rates depend on many decisions yet to be made, the report provides numerous data and general projections that reflect business continuing as usual, without significant deviations in State policy, customer behavior, or utility practices.

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