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Md. regulators approve $25M electric, $54M gas rate increases for BGE

The Maryland Public Service Commission approved a settlement agreement allowing Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. to increase electric base rates by $25 million and gas base rates by $54 million.

In its Dec. 17 order, the commission said, "The agreed-upon rate base increases are just and reasonable and supported by actual evidence of company property used and useful in providing service to the public."

The Exelon Corp. subsidiary asked in May for an $81.1 million electric rate increase and a $67.6 million gas rate increase. Because a portion of the proposed increase included transferring some costs now recovered under separate charges to the company's electric and gas base rates, the request amounted to a combined revenue increase of nearly $133 million, or $74 million for electric and $58.9 million for gas.

In October, the utility filed a partial settlement reached with several parties, including commission staff, the state's ratepayer advocate and certain customers. The settlement set the electric and gas base rate increases and also called for Baltimore Gas and Electric, or BGE, within 60 days of getting approval of the deal, to start providing a one-time bill credit to electric customers for the electric portion of regulatory liability under federal tax reforms. The credits amount to about $4.7 million.

BGE, commission staff, the state Office of People's Counsel, Walmart Inc., the U.S. Department of Defense and all other federal agencies, Maryland Energy Group and W.R. Grace & Co., H.A. Wagner, and C.P. Crane supported the settlement.

The new rates took effect Dec. 17, BGE spokesperson Linda Foy said.

The settlement did not resolve a dispute over the right way to calculate an "SOS Administrative Adjustment," so the commission did.

According to Regulatory Research Associates, a group within S&P Global Market Intelligence, the charge is included in BGE's total electric standard offer service, or SOS, price charged to customers that do not get power from a competitive supplier and includes certain administrative costs incurred by BGE.

The commission ultimately combined parts of BGE's and commission staff's SOS Administrative Adjustments, which resulted in the allocation of about $13.6 million to the SOS rates and an administrative charge of 1.09 mills per kWh. (Maryland PSC Case No. 9610)