Exelon Corp.’s Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. (BGE) is planning a $5 billion infrastructure investment in the electric power grid and electric system, as well as a multi-year customer relief plan totaling $4.1 million.
The plan, which would cover 2021-2023, was filed with the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) last week to help the region recover from the pandemic through improvements to the electric and natural gas systems.
According to the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore, the investments would catalyze the economy with $15 billion and create more than 26,000 jobs. The energy infrastructure investment plan encompasses more than 300 projects and maintenance programs over the three-year period.
“Prior to the pandemic, we had been designing a forward-looking energy infrastructure investment plan as part of the state’s multi-year plan pilot,” BGE CEO Carim Khouzami said. “In light of the economic challenges created by the pandemic, we have been able to structure the plan to provide both near-term relief for customers and longer-term stimulus for the Maryland economy.
“The energy infrastructure investments we make translate into service benefits for our customers and communities and steady employment and financial assurance for the more than 900 supplier companies who provide equipment and services to BGE,” the company chief added. “It is at times like this when the value of continued investments in the critical energy systems our customers depend on are most apparent, reliably powering homes, hospitals, first responders and other essential services when energy is most crucial.”
The customer relief plan includes the $2.6 million currently being provided for assistance in the Fuel Fund of Maryland. BGE plans to contribute an additional $1.5 million to the fund to assist low-income residential customers with their electricity and gas bills this year.
Amid the impact of coronavirus on small business, BGE’s plan also includes providing $1 million for county-administered business relief funds in central Maryland. In 2021, BGE also plans to implement a small business relief grant program for businesses with less than 25 employees. The program grants up to $20,000 to each business to aid covering operating expenses.
For the next two years, BGE plans to also freeze current base delivery rates for customers. In order to freeze delivery rates, BGE is deferring rate adjustments and advancing to customers long-term tax benefits, which are normally acquired over several decades.
After holding rates flat for two years, BGE is requesting an 8.3% upward adjustment for 2023. In 2023, average residential customer’s bills are projected to be 22% lower than in 2008 because of energy saving programs that led to lower electric supply costs and reduced use of energy.
BGE serves central Maryland with 1.3 million electric customers and more than 684,000 natural gas customers.
Another Maryland-based company, Columbia Gas of Maryland Inc., jumped on the infrastructure improvements trend. Columbia Gas filed a request with the Maryland PSC to approve an annual revenue increase of about $6.5 million for infrastructure improvements.