www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/blog/bal-mizeur-campaign-tackles-electricity-rates-20140513,0,3737002.story

baltimoresun.com

Mizeur campaign tackles electricity rates

Erin Cox

The Baltimore Sun

6:37 PM EDT, May 13, 2014

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Gubernatorial hopeful Del. Heather Mizeur has made lowering electricity bills one of her goals if elected governor.

In a policy paper released Tuesday, Mizeur called for greater oversight of Maryland utility companies and more investments in the aging electric grid, two moves she said would help curb power failures and lower energy bills.

The Democrat from Takoma Park said she would appoint more consumer advocates to the Public Service Commission, which regulates utility companies, and that she would require energy companies to renegotiate their licenses every 10 to 15 years. 

Those negotiations, she said, would promote competition and potentially open the door to ending what she called "indefinite, perpetual franchises to several power utilities."

"Marketplace competition will ensure that utility companies more quickly update their infrastructure, improving the reliability of the power delivered to Marylanders," Mizeur said in statement.

She said she would also try to make it easier for small co-operative and city-owned electric systems to get off the ground, providing another avenue to electricity competition.

"For too long, Maryland’s public utilities have provided shaky, sub¿par service and charged exorbitant rates to consumers without being held accountable," Mizeur said.  "Power companies must invest in the significant upgrades and maintenance of their infrastructure necessary to dramatically improve safety and reliability of service, or face competition from an entity that will."

Mizeur faces two better-known and better-financed opponents in the June 24 Democratic primary, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler.