Wheelbarrow full of letters oppose electric rate rise


Five consumer activists wearing big red cardboard pennies delivered a wheelbarrow full of letters to the Maryland Public Service Commission office yesterday in a campaign to persuade state regulators not to raise Baltimore area electricity rates.

The PSC is scheduled to decide by Dec. 17 whether Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. should receive a $195 million, or 8 percent, electricity rate increase next year.

Members of the Maryland Citizen Action Coalition delivered 1,400 letters, which they said had been gathered during a door-to-door campaign, to PSC Chairman Frank Heintz in his Baltimore Street office.

The preprinted letters, each with two pennies attached, asked the PSC to reject BG&E;'s request, which would add about $7.40 a month to an average household's bill, and give the company 2 cents a year instead.

Mr. Heintz said the commission would donate the $28 worth of pennies taped to the letters to the Baltimore Fuel Fund.

BG&E; spokesman Arthur Slusark said last night that the company believed that its increase request was justified and that, even with the increase, Baltimore area residents would still pay one of the lowest electricity rates on the East Coast.

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