The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Stop Electric Rate Increases

Jun 12, 2006

On May 30, a circuit court judge ruled that Maryland’s Public Service Commission had to hold a new hearing on a disputed 72% electricity rate increase. The city of Baltimore had brought suit against this recently announced rate increase by Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE).

For the moment the rates are not going up. But the relief will be short-lived.

Maryland’s state legislature–controlled by the Democrats–agreed to hold a special session to consider the rate increases. Yet these hypocrites just ended their regular session one month ago–without doing a thing to stop this very same increase. Why would the politicians–or the PSC, which had just approved the rate increase–reverse themselves? In reality, the lawsuit is only part of the ongoing electioneering between Baltimore’s Democratic mayor and a Republican governor, who are running against each other in November for the governor’s chair.

The rate increase is part of the business plan of Constellation Energy, the parent company of BGE. Constellation is proposing to merge with Florida Power and Light. And they want more money from their existing customers to finance new acquisitions.

Constellation is already quite profitable. But like many other corporations, it arranges its books so that one part holds the profitable side while another part or subsidiary supposedly loses money. For example, Constellation gives itself large loans from a pool of money to which BGE must contribute.

Constellation is so profitable that it has offered its top executives 73 million dollars when the merger with Florida Power and Light goes through. The execs get 73 million and the residents get faltering electricity production and a 72% rate increase!

Neither a special legislative session nor a new public service hearing will stop corporate greed. Not unless electricity users of Maryland put them up against the wall.