Regulators deny Baltimore Gas and Electric cost recovery on smart meter project

Baltimore, June 23, 2010 – The Maryland Public Service Commission denied a Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. request to recover costs associated with its smart metering project.

The Department of Energy previously granted BGE $200 million in Recovery Act money for the smart metering project. Total cost of the program was estimated at about $835 million over a 15-year span.

The project would have deployed advanced meters to 1.2 million customers, which BGE estimated would save ratepayers about $2.6 billion over time.

BGE asked regulators to approve a surcharge of about 38 cents per month for electric customers and another 44 cents for those who also use natural gas. These surcharges would rise over the course of the project to about $1.24 per month and about $1.52 per month, respectively.

In response to the request, the Maryland PSC wrote an order asking BGE to cover the cost rather than passing it on to ratepayers. The PSC said any benefits offered by the program were “largely indirect, highly contingent and a long way off.”

BGE released a statement expressing disappointment, frustration and surprise at the decision to deny the application.

“We’re shocked that the PSC is jeopardizing the $200 million stimulus grant awarded by the Department of Energy to help pay for the initiative,” according to a BGE release. “The decision also jeopardizes Maryland’s ability to meet the O’Malley Administration’s energy efficiency goals under EmPOWER Maryland.”

It is unclear yet whether BGE will appeal the decision or revise its application.

BGE delivers power to more than 1.2 million electric customers and more than 640,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland. The company has 3,000 employees and has its headquarters in Baltimore.

 

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