BGE Customers May Have To Help Foot The Bill For Irene

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — In the dark for days. Hundreds of thousands felt forgotten after Hurricane Irene as BGE worked to get the lights back on. We’ve learned that effort cost $81 million.

Kai Jackson explains who could be paying for it.

It’s too early to tell whether BGE customers will shell out more money for their bills, yet it’s clear that even the idea has some people fuming.

It was a nailbiting time. Marylanders were on edge as Hurricane Irene rolled through the state in August. The storm left 750,000 Marylanders without power and had utility crews working around the clock.

“For seven days, we was in the dark. We made the best we could,” said Darryl Edwards.

BGE says the storm was expensive.

The company estimates it cost $81 million to restore power to homes and businesses and that begs the question: who pays for it?

“Right now, those costs are borne by the shareholders, not the BGE customers,” BGE spokesman Rob Gould said.

Yet that might not remain the case, according to BGE.

“We will request a recovery of costs related to the storm,” Gould said.

“I feel as though it’s unfair for BGE to raise the rates, especially for an elder,” said Felicia Graham Bush.

Felicia’s dad, Bert Graham—who’s retired—uses a ventilator at night. No power meant no ventilator during Irene. He says a rate hike would eat into his fixed income.

“It would be pretty hard on me with a fixed income,” Graham said.

There won’t be rate hikes without Public Service Commission approval.

Staffers for Governor Martin O’Malley say it is unfair that BGE customers who were in the dark after the storm could be asked to pay for not having power.

BGE says they had 6,500 employees out in the field in the days after Hurricane Irene.

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