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Energy Deregulation for the state of Maryland

Maryland Electric Deregulation is the result of a bill passed in 1999 by the Maryland General Assembly. This bill changed the entire face of the Maryland utility industry. The Electric Customer Choice and Competition Act of 1999 was actually passed through the Maryland General Assembly, and allowed people to choose an alternative gas and electricity supplier should they wish to do so.

The point is that everything now becomes exceptionally easy for the customer. All they have to do is select a different energy supplier and switch, or they can stay with the utility that they already have if they want to. Either way, delivery of gas and electricity will be state supervised and through the utility. However, despite how good this sounds and how other states have profited from deregulation immensely, its effects in Maryland have been all but negligible. Maryland is still one of the states with the highest average electricity retail prices, and is also one of the states in which most of the energy it produces is used up easily, so it has to import energy from neighboring states instead. Essentially in a deregulated marketplace, this rarely happens. Energy production should go up, but Maryland has been having issues with that particular aspect.

To counteract this, an idea surfaced rather recently. It revolved around ratepayer-financed generation. This meant that because no power plants were being constructed and because no electricity generation had been encouraged as it should have been after deregulation was applied, then the state would use rate payer money to create power plants. This seems rather anti-deregulation, but it may as well be the only option that Maryland has after the energy crisis it is going through. The way they would get this money is by indirectly charging the customers of utilities for the cost of a new plant. The commission has ordered utilities to consider certain proposals for plants fueled by natural gas as a potential source of energy generation. The utilities will not own these plants, but these plants will be paid for with the customers of these utilities being indirectly charged a certain sum of money.

Maryland really needs to figure out how to deal with the deregulation and energy crisis it is happening, or very soon it will face the sort of blackouts that plagued New York. Drastic measures need to be taken, but at this point in time, they are rather necessary.