- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 20, 2006

[1:40 p.m.]

BALTIMORE (AP) — Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has reached an agreement with the parent company of Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. (BGE) that would delay the full impact of electricity rate increases scheduled to take effect in July.

Mr. Ehrlich, a Republican seeking re-election, “will announce a framework to mitigate expected electricity rate increases” at a 5 p.m. press conference in Annapolis, according to a release from the governor’s office.

The deal would avert the need for a special session of the Democrat-controlled General Assembly to address the matter.

The regular legislative session ended last week without an agreement on a plan to soften rate increases for BGE’s more than 1.2 million customers in central Maryland.

After the session, the governor’s office continued to negotiate with Constellation Energy Group Inc., BGE’s parent company.

Customers were confronted with the prospect of 72 percent increases in their electricity bills when rate caps expire June 30.

The caps were imposed in 1999 as part of Maryland’s electricity deregulation process.

A Constellation Energy spokesman did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

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