Baltimore Gas and Electric requests rehearing of smart grid proposal


Kenneth DeFontes,
President, BGE
Baltimore, MD, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — July 14, 2010 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) yesterday filed an application for a rehearing of its amended smart grid proposal with the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC), requesting expedited review by July 30 to preserve the $200 million federal stimulus grant awarded to the project.

BGE’s original proposal was rejected by the PSC over aspects of the business plan, and in particular the cost recovery (see BGE’s smart meter plan in limbo). However, the PSC indicated it would consider a revised proposal should the company wish to pursue the project. If the plan isn’t approved by July 30, then the company risks losing the stimulus funding awarded to the project.

“Last month’s ruling by the Maryland PSC related to our smart grid proposal raised important questions and concerns,” said Kenneth W. DeFontes, president and CEO of BGE. “In today’s filing, we address some misunderstandings about our proposal, respond to the PSC’s concerns, strengthen what was an already robust plan, and make every effort to retain a coveted $200 million grant from the DOE.”

BGE’s plans are for the installation of 2 million smart meters in a project that it expects to save customers almost $100 per year, amounting to in excess of $2.6 billion over 15 years.

In the revised filing BGE has modified its original tracker proposal for cost recovery, and has now proposed a hybrid approach that would give the PSC multiple opportunities to provide appropriate oversight to review the ongoing costs and benefits of the project, thereby avoiding future spikes in base rates associated with smart grid implementation.

BGE also has withdrawn a mandatory time-of-use (TOU) rate structure in favor of an optional TOU program. The new filing also provides a comprehensive customer-focused education and outreach plan, based on lessons learned by utilities across the country, as well as BGE’s own successful smart grid pilot program.

In response to questions about the state of smart grid technology, BGE’s filing makes clear that to date, 26 utilities in 15 states have installed more than 16 million smart meters, a number projected to double by the end of next year, collectively saving consumers billions of dollars in energy costs.

“In submitting this application for reconsideration, we sincerely hope we have addressed enough of the PSC’s questions and concerns to quickly move this project forward and preserve the very real and tangible benefits provided by the DOE grant,” added DeFontes.

In a statement BGE said that the $200 million federal stimulus grant amounts to nearly half of the program’s initial costs.

BGE delivers power to more than 1.2 million electric customers and more than 640,000 natural gas customers in Central Maryland.