Constellation Takes the Lead for Solar in Maryland

Constellation, a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation and a leading competitive retail energy supplier, and the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) announced the start of construction of a 5.1-megawatt (DC) solar generation project in Baltimore County. The solar power system, spread among the college’s three main campuses in Dundalk, Essex and Catonsville, is expected to generate enough electricity to meet approximately 27 percent of the college’s electricity needs. Constellation will also install 10 duplex electric vehicle charging stations as part of the project. “This solar power system supports our mission of promoting sustainable initiatives on campus and educating and engaging… Read more.

Utility Ameren Ready to Hike Electric Rates

Ameren customers, prepare yourselves for yet another increase in your electric bill. The utility will be able to charge an additional $121.5 million to its customers starting May 12 of 2015. The Public Service Commission released an updated estimate of the amount Ameren can charge customers following a rate increase. Commission staff say the average residential customer will see an increase of $5.45 a month on their electric bill. The $121.5 million increase is less than half the $264 million Ameren initially requested in July of 2014. But it’s higher than the $108 million estimate provided by staff Wednesday when… Read more.

Duquesne Light Negates Responsibility of Transformer Explosion

As reported by Channel 11 News, utility Duquesne Light has left half a dozen homes in shambles a month after a transformer explosion in Pittsburgh. Homeowners say that their costs are mounting, and the power company is denying any responsibility in the damages. “It literally shook the whole house and took me off balance,” said Janet Solli of the transformer explosion that rocked her home on Ridgeway Street. At least six other homeowners said a day after a powerful storm moved through last month, a pole-mounted distributor burst into flames, sending a power surge from home to home and frying… Read more.

PPL Electric Utilities Aims to Increase Rates by 22 Percent

PPL Electric Utilities wants to increase distribution rates and the flat customer charge while petitioning regulators to allow it to grow its guaranteed profits from operations. The increase could cost electricity users as much as $10 per month, according to the utility, which was requested to the Public Utility Commission. However, a close look at the rates show sizable percentage increases in components of the bills. If approved, the increases will be paid by all PPL customers, even those who purchase power from another supplier, because the rate covers the cost and profits for PPL to deliver the power over… Read more.

Utility Penelec Seeks Rate Increase

It’s not set in stone yet, but Penelec customers should expect an increase in their monthly electric bills. The Office of the Administrative Law Judge for the state Public Utility Commission has filed a recommended decision that would resolve Penelec’s first successful rate hike request in 29 years. That recommendation calls for increasing the monthly residential customer charge by $2.01 to $9.99. The proposed settlement would also raise other distribution charges based on the amount of electricity a customer uses. The bill for a typical customer, one who uses 1,000 kWh per month, would increase by 13.1 percent, boosting his… Read more.

Central Hudson Seeks to Increase Electric and Gas Rates

Two public hearings will be held by the state Public Service Commission on proposed increases to Central Hudson electric and natural gas rates. The utility is looking for $67.2 million in revenue over three years for improvements to electric and natural gas infrastructure, with $36 million furnished by rate-payers and the remainder offset by bill credits provided by Fortis as part the deal it made when it acquired Central Hudson in 2013 and other balances. According to a bill comparison provided by Central Hudson, an average customer can expect to see their monthly electric bill increase by around 10 percent… Read more.

Flat Rate Electricity for Ameren Illinois Customers

An alliance between consumer advocates and environmentalists says it’s time to give consumers a break on their power bills with a “time-of-use” pricing plan. Many Ameren Illinois users pay a flat rate for their power that doesn’t vary. But time-of-use would give consumers the option of cheaper rates at certain times, such as late night. Families with the flexibility to shuffle power use, washing clothes at midnight, for example, could save big. The Citizens Utility Board consumer watchdog group and the Environmental Defense Fund have joined together to ask the state’s power system regulators, the Illinois Commerce Commission, to look… Read more.

Connecticut Lawmakers Plan to Eliminate Variable Electric Rates

As reported in The Connecticut Mirror, Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney and other key legislators are pushing a first-in-the-nation law banning variable electric rates in the residential market, a concept rejected last year by legislators and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. The about-face is a tacit admission that a 2014 consumer protection law was insufficient to protect customers against bait-and-switch marketing by some of the electric retailers who compete with United Illuminating and Connecticut Light & Power, now part of a new entity named Eversource Energy. “What we’re hearing is a lot of the best electric suppliers have just… Read more.

Constellation to Develop a Biomass Cogeneration Plant

Constellation Energy, a unit of Chicago-based Exelon  Corp., has inked a contract with Proctor & Gamble Co. (P&G) to develop a $200 million, 50 MW biomass cogeneration plant to replace an older, smaller cogen facility at the company’s Albany, GA, paper manufacturing facility. The energy facility would provide all of the steam and 60-70% of the paper plant’s energy needs. It plans to sell 42 MW of excess electricity to the local power utility Georgia Power Co. Constellation would build, own and operate the cogeneraion plant. For more than 30 years the P&G plant in Albany has used a smaller… Read more.

Maryland Lawmakers Propose Bill to End Smart Meter Opt-out Fees

Extra fees for electricity customers who refuse to accept “smart meters” because they are wary of the new technology would be eliminated by a bill heard by the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday, and any extra costs would be spread across all customers. Utility companies argue these fees are necessary because of the extra cost of continuing to read the old meters. Customers of the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE), the Potomac Electric Power Company (Pepco) and Delmarva Power and Light (DPL) have been facing “opt-out” fees that came with their option to choose analog meters over smart meters, a… Read more.