Petition on long-term gas planning and immediate priority actions
In February, the Office of People's Counsel asked the Maryland Public Service Commission to initiate a proceeding on the planning, practices, and operations of the gas companies. OPC’s request asks the Commission to initiate a two-track proceeding. One track would cover priority actions that the Commission should take in the near term to align current gas operations with the consensus understanding that gas sales will decrease due to technology and State climate policy. The second track would cover long-term system planning, including the future role of gas utilities, the mitigation of potential stranded costs, and the maintenance of reliability and safety as utility revenues decline. OPC’s requests point out that the gas utility planning has not changed even though electric technologies—like electric heat pumps—are outperforming gas technologies and the State’s climate goals require the State to move off of fossil fuels. A Commission proceeding is necessary to ensure gas utility planning and practices are consistent with the public interest, Maryland climate policy, and the statutory requirement that rates utilities charge customers are just and reasonable.