- The Washington Times - Monday, June 5, 2006

12:46 p.m.

BALTIMORE — Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. (BGE) was to begin accepting calls today from customers seeking to “opt out” of a plan to defer paying for part of an energy rate increase that begins July 1.

However, callers to the BGE hotline number, 888/234-0505, are getting a recording that the service is not yet available.

BGE spokesman Rob Gould tells radio station WBAL the utility determined the telephone service needed some tweaks, and he expects it will be operational later today.

The increase will raise average bills by 72 percent, but Friday’s decision by the Public Service Commission means customers will be automatically enrolled in a plan that eases them into the higher bills by spreading out the payments.

Customers who “opt out” will pay the entire increase at once but will avoid paying interest.

Customers should have their current bill with their account number when they call.

BGE says there currently is no deadline to “opt-out” of the deferral plan, but the company may eventually set one.

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