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Reports: Legislation Could Raise Gas Bill for Marylanders

Is paying more each month the best way to ensure upgrades to old utility systems? Tell us in comments.

Would you pay more each month for gas utility service in exchange for updated gas pipelines?

A bill that easily passed both houses of the Maryland General Assembly would increase Marylanders' gas bills by $2 and allow gas companies to more quickly upgrade old pipelines that are near schools and neighborhoods, the Washington Post reports

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Two senators, one from Anne Arundel County and another from Charles County, sponsored the measure, which is different from the current law because it allows companies to charge for upgrades before they are complete.

This pre-payment, which has been proposed five times in the past four sessions, according to the Post, is akin to deregulating the utility system, say some opponents. 

“This is about ending the structure of regulation that we have had for a century in Maryland,” said Sen. Richard Madaleno Jr. (D-Montgomery). “Remember, these are monopolies . . . and in exchange for having a monopoly we highly regulate these industries so they don’t rob us blind.”

The Post reports that the bill is making its way to Gov. Martin O'Malley to be signed, but it is unclear what the governor intends to do.

What do you think? Is paying more each month the best way to ensure upgrades to old utility systems?

David from VoxPop February 13, 2013 at 12:37 PM
Nice. Maybe we should also pre-pay for storm damage, maintenance to the BGE fleet, increased healthcare costs, and the like. It makes sense, right? Otherwise Constellation Energy might have to <gulp> take a smaller profit. Now...where did I put those solar panels...
John February 13, 2013 at 05:54 PM
Replacement of gas lines is part of the business model for gas transmission companies and the regulators should take the need for funding replacement into the rates. There is really no reason to break out these "cost of doing business" charges and bill them separately. I would like to know what the gas companies submitted to the rate commission in the past and whether cost of gas line replacement was included, and if so, did the rate comission disallow it.

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