Retail gas marketers got some good and bad news from BaltimoreGas & Electric Co. yesterday. The bad news was transportationcustomers have to start paying the state’s 5% sales tax for thefirst time starting in May so alternative suppliers will have amuch tougher time beating the regulated gas sales price. Thecompliance division of the state Controller’s office informed BGEof the tax change in January.

The good news, however, was there may be more customers willingto switch suppliers because BGE has restructured its gas bill.Balancing and other upstream-related transportation fees now willbe bundled into distribution costs rather than itemized on the gassupply portion of a transportation customer’s bill. Currently, onlytransportation customers see the itemized transportation charges,which leads many to believe they are being charged extra fees whenthey switch suppliers. The new bill looks the same for bothtransportation and bundled gas sales customers. Customers now willhave an easier time seeing the price difference between regulatedgas sales and sales from non-regulated gas marketers.

“The new bill further breaks out the costs associated with thepurchase and distribution of natural gas,” says Phil Precht, BGEgas pricing director. “Pertinent information is easier to locateand the language is easier to read and understand.”

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