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Maryland rethinks utility deregulation: thousands face cut-off

Service interruption stayed for 117,000 pending review of doubled, tripled rates.

Douglas Nazarian is chairman of the Public Service CommissionMarch 14, 2009 — The head of the panel that regulates Maryland's utilities says the marketplace has failed and left increasing numbers of ratepayers unable to afford to heat their homes.

"Deregulation has not worked for the benefit of Maryland ratepayers. We have not been able, just relying purely on market forces, to achieve a supply-and-demand mix that works for the best interest of ratepayers," Douglas R M Nazarian, chairman of the Public Service Commission, said during a series of hearings Thursday and Friday.

About 120,000 Maryland customers face an electricity cutoff next month because of the deep recession and bills that have doubled or even tripled this winter.

The prospect of a mass shut-off prompted the commission to evaluate the cost of reregulation bills submitted by Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, and lawmakers that would give the state broad powers to decide when power plants would be built and whether customers are being charged a fair rate. . .

To read further, please click on the link below. . .

Links and sources
  Md. mulls ending energy deregulation, by Michael Drost, The Washington Times, March 14 2009

Posted: March 18, 2009

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