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Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. has submitted an amended smart grid proposal to the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) for a rehearing on the proposal rejected bythe PSC in order to hold onto the $200 million federal stimulus grant attached to the project. BGE has proposed several changes to its original proposal. The most important are the changes the company proposes to make to the way it will recoup costs associated with the $835 million project. Instead of using a surcharge on customers’ bills to recover all project costs, the company would recover 25 percent of costs through a surcharge and the rest through rate increases that have to be approved by the PSC. The PSC would review spending twice a year to avoid uncertainty of what it would later approve.

The PSC had expressed concern that making “time-of-use billing” mandatory would hurt consumers who are often in their homes during the day. Under BGE’s new proposal, customers could voluntarily sign up for time-of-use billing. Customers who decide to get billed through time-of-use would pay lower rates for using power during off-peak hours, like nights and weekends, and higher rates during peak hours. All customers would still be eligible for rebates for reducing power use during times of peak demand, like very hot summer days.

BGE also updated its customer education plan in its new filing, responding to a PSC gripe about the lack of details on the program in the original application. The smart meters BGE proposes to install in customers’ homes would provide two-way communication between the customer and the company, alerting BGE to outages and other issues. Customers would have the benefit of reviewing their daily power use through a website, providing them with more information to make choices about consumption and manage their bills. (The Daily Record, 7/12/2010)

Maryland PSC Rejects BGE Smart Meter Proposal