The Spark

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

Maryland and BGE agree on another customer ripoff

Mar 31, 2008

Maryland’s Governor O’Malley and other top state officials claim they have scored a big victory for the 1.1 million residential customers of Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE). In an out-of-court settlement of lawsuits, BGE agreed to give each household a one-time rebate of $170.

Of course, over the last couple of years, BGE hiked electric rate hikes by 85%. As one BGE customer told a newspaper reporter, $170 won’t reimburse her for even one month of these increases. And even this pittance will be reduced by $35 to $40 in electric bill credits that BGE will now escape from paying to each of its customers as a result of another part of the settlement.

In fact, this agreement is a cover to allow BGE and its parent company, Constellation Energy, to carry out even more outrageous attacks. First of all, the state agreed to end all investigations – now and in the future – into the sleazy and crooked 1999 deregulation deal between BGE/Constellation and the state of Maryland.

Beyond this, the state will now assist Constellation in gaining federal approval for the construction of a third reactor at its Calvert Cliffs nuclear power complex.

Most importantly, this agreement allows BGE to continue charging its customers its incredibly high electricity rates.

No wonder the price of Constellation shares on the stock market went up over 3% on the day the settlement was announced. Quite a feat, considering how stock market prices overall are dropping!