I have been thinking it and started a post on it. Then the MD GOP sent this out. I could not have said it any better.
O’Malley yelled at the top of his lungs on the looming 72% electric rate increases (despite the fact that Ehrlich had nothing to do with it except try to fix it then O’Malley blew that apart). Now the O’Malley is singing from the same sheet of music as the Ehrlich Administration sang from. Thing is O’Malley had a copy of the sheet of music before the election because he knew he would have to use it himself.
Now perhaps O’Malley is looking at the $23.7M in taxes that BGE paid to Maryland in 2006 (not to mention Constellation Energy’s state tax bill). Since a great deal of this tax bill is based upon gross receipts (some is based on property and other items) perhaps Mr. O’Malley sees this as a hidden tax to help with the State’s revenue problems.
Maybe County Executive Ulman will push forward his energy co-op plan. For those of you waiting for me to bash Mr. Ulman I am not being tongue in cheek – I am serious.
DESPITE PROMISES TO “STOP THE RATE HIKES,” ELECTRIC RATES ARE GOING UP BY OVER 50% ON JUNE 1ST
THEN – Candidate O’Malley Promised Immediate Relief From Electric Rate Hikes. “Martin O’Malley and Anthony Brown will work to provide immediate relief from the impending rate hikes for our families, small businesses and the most vulnerable in our communities.” (O’Malley Campaign Web site, http://www.martinomalley.com/content/591, accessed May 28, 2007)
THEN – Candidate O’Malley Promised To “Stop The Rate Hikes.” “‘The special interests already have their governor – we need one of our own,’ says a voice-over in the mayor’s commercial. ‘Martin O’Malley: taking on BGE to stop the rate hikes.’” (David Abrams, “Politicos jockey for credit on BGE rate deal,” The Capital, 6/25/06)(emphasis added)
NOW – Governor O’Malley Announced His Hand-Picked Public Service Commission Has Approved The Largest Electric Rate Increase in Maryland History – Going Up Over 50% For The Average BGE Customer on June 1st. “It is with reluctance, but with little legal option, that the Commission in this Order approves the approximately 50 percent rate increase resulting from a pass-through of supply costs proposed by BGE for its electric residential customers receiving its Standard Offer Service.” (Public Service Commission Order, 5/23/07)
Ø SENIORS AND LOW-INCOME FAMILIES FORGOTTEN
THEN – Candidate O’Malley Promised To Protect Seniors and Low-Income Families From Any Electric Rate Increase. “O’Malley will also work to ensure that all residents are automatically enrolled in the shock absorber plan, and not be subject to an opt-in provision that disproportionately harms seniors and low-income Marylanders.” (O’Malley Campaign Web site, http://www.martinomalley.com/content/591 , accessed May 28, 2007)
NOW – The O’Malley Administration Says There Is Nothing They Can Do To Help Seniors and Low-Income Families. “[Public Service] Commission Chairman Steven B. Larsen said he had concerns about the effect of the increase on people with low incomes, but he said the commission had no legal basis to deny the increase as Maryland transitions to market prices after years of capped rates.” (John Wagner and Avis Thomas-Lester, “BGE Customers to Face Heftier Energy Bills in June,” Washington Post, 5/24/07)
In Contrast, Governor Bob Ehrlich Reached Agreement For Over $600 Million In Assistance For Marylanders Hit Hardest By An Electric Rate Increase, But A Lawsuit From O’Malley Killed The Deal. “ Due to Baltimore City’s interference, more than one million Marylanders were saddled last week with an electric rate stabilization plan that includes far less assistance than the plan negotiated with Baltimore Gas & Electric and Constellation Energy in April and includes no concessions whatsoever from energy companies for working families. This unfortunate development resulted from the Baltimore City Administration’s lawsuit against the Public Service Commission, which had previously approved a plan that offered customers far more assistance…I introduced a plan that reflected our basic agreement and included $600 million in cash relief from Constellation Energy for working families to help offset the large rate increase resulting from the flawed 1999 deregulation law. The City’s lawsuit effectively voided these benefits and stuck working families with a plan that benefits energy companies more than customers.” (Governor Robert Ehrlich, Letter to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, 6/5/06)Ø CONSUMER ADVOCATES NOT APPOINTED TO THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
THEN – Candidate O’Malley Promised to Replace the Public Service Commission With Advocates For Consumers. “Replace PSC Members: Install Advocate for Consumers in Negotiations. O’Malley will support measures that will immediately get new, independent, competent regulators on the job – replacing the existing industry-dominated PSC.” (O’Malley Campaign Web site, http://www.martinomalley.com/content/591, accessed May 28, 2007)
- Candidate O’Malley Accused PSC Of Not Doing Enough To Shield Consumers From Rate Increases. “Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley, a Democratic candidate for governor, yesterday called for commission Chairman Kenneth D. Schisler to resign, saying he and other Ehrlich appointees aren’t doing enough to shield consumers from the rate increases.” (Andrew Green, “Former industry leaders regulating state utilities,” Baltimore Sun, 3/14/06)
NOW – Governor O’Malley Appointed Public Service Commissioners With No History of Consumer Activism. “(Governor O’Malley) named two commissioners (to fill vacant slots) who lack a history of zealous consumer activism.” (Barry Rascovar, “O’Malley’s reality check: Power has limits,” The Gazette, 2/23/07)
- New Chairman Has No Background in Utility Regulation. “O’Malley’s choice for PSC chairman, Steve Larsen, has no background in utility regulation, which mocks the governor’s pledge to select commissioners with expertise in this arcane and complex field.” (Barry Rascovar, “O’Malley’s reality check: Power has limits,” The Gazette, 2/23/07)
- Former Commissioner Who Approved The Failed 1999 Deregulation Plan Added To PSC. “(Governor O’Malley’s) other ‘new’ commissioner, Suzanne Brogan, is actually a retread and was one of the members who approved electric rate deregulation in 1999 — a move O’Malley and other Democrats loudly denounced as anti-consumer.” (Barry Rascovar, “O’Malley’s reality check: Power has limits,” The Gazette, 2/23/07)
- Constellation Energy Executive Re-Appointed To PSC. “To top off his PSC moves, (Governor O’Malley) reappointed Harold Williams to another five-year term, even though he worked nearly 20 years for the Evil Empire of state utilities, Constellation Energy.” (Barry Rascovar, “O’Malley’s reality check: Power has limits,” The Gazette, 2/23/07)
Ø O’MALLEY HAS FAILED TO ACT
THEN – Candidate O’Malley Criticized Then-Governor Ehrlich For Allegedly Failing to Act. “O’Malley said the governor and the PSC members he appointed failed to act and hold hearings as they should have to hold down BGE rates. ‘The governor should have stepped up and done something,’ O’Malley said.” (Len Lazarick, “Ehrlich, O’Malley debate electric rates, PSC,” The Examiner Washington, Sept. 15, 2006)
NOW – Governor O’Malley Has Failed To Act. “ During last year’s campaign, O’Malley accused the commission, which then had a majority of Ehrlich appointees, of ‘rubber-stamping’ BGE’s rate request. Yesterday, the tables were turned. ‘O’Malley’s pledge to hold the line on rate increases and help working families was a false campaign promise,’ state GOP Chairman James Pelura said in a statement. ‘His lack of visibility on this issue shows he will do and say whatever it takes to get elected.’” (John Wagner and Avis Thomas-Lester, “BGE Customers to Face Heftier Energy Bills in June,” Washington Post, 5/24/07)
NOW – On June 1st, Electric Rates Will Go Up By 50% For BGE Customers. “State officials reluctantly approved a 50 percent rate increase yesterday for the 1.1 million residential customers of Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., saying they had “little legal option” to defer or reduce the utility company’s proposal. The increase goes into effect June 1.” (Brian Witte, “Officials Approve BGE’s Increase,” Washington Times, 5/24/07)(emphasis added)