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The Baltimore Sun

PSC approves Allegheny's refund plan to customers

The state Public Service Commission approved yesterday refunds to customers of Allegheny Power for an energy conservation initiative that drew criticism.

In January, the company told the PSC that it would voluntarily stop charging ratepayers a 96-cent monthly surcharge for 12 months to recover the cost of sending them two 60-watt compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Allegheny officials received complaints from consumers who did not want the bulbs for various reasons and wanted to return them for a refund, as well as from customers who did not receive them and wanted them.

Commissioners approved a refund for about 220,000 customers who had been billed since the program began in October. The company will absorb the nearly $2.5 million cost of the program. Ratepayers who did not receive bulbs can call 800-255-3443 until April 30 to receive a kit.

Late last year, Congress approved a higher efficiency standard for light bulbs, effectively phasing out standard incandescent light bulbs, starting in 2012.

Other major state utilities -- Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., Pepco and Delmarva Power -- also have discount programs for compact fluorescent bulbs that are or will be paid for through surcharges on customers.

Liz F. Kay

North Carolina

: Clinton

Judge retains warrant against Md. man, 81

A judge has declined to dismiss the arrest warrant used against an ailing 81-year-old prison escapee from Maryland who has been on the lam for 43 years.

Willie Parker was told yesterday to return to court in Clinton, N.C., on April 18. Sampson County District Judge Henry L. Stevens IV rejected defense arguments that the warrant was technically flawed because it was signed by a prison warden instead of a judge.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys said they have not heard from Maryland authorities about a possible extradition request. Federal marshals arrested Parker last month at a home near Clinton. Parker spent about a week in jail before a judge granted a $25,000 bond.

Associated Press

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