BALTIMORE (WJZ) — BGE bills could be going up. The utility company wants state regulators to approve the biggest increase in nearly 20 years.

Adam May has the details that affect your wallet.

The increase could cost many families more than $10 a month–but this is far from a done deal.

After a series of bad storms last year, Marylanders are well aware of how fragile the utility infrastructure can be. Now BGE says they need $175 million next year to upgrade the system and equipment.

“Service to the customer is expected to improve,” said BGE Vice President Stephen J. Woerner.

Executives are asking for one of the biggest rate increases in two decades. It would affect what you see on your bill as the distribution charge. Residential electricity is up five percent–that’s more than $6 for the average customer. Residential gas is up 7.5 percent, which is more than $4 a customer.

“We need to continue to reinvest in the aging infrastructure,” said BGE spokesman Rob Gould.

But not so fast, argues the People’s Council, which represents ratepayers. It recently won arguments against a similar rate increase proposed by D.C.-area utility Pepco. In the BGE case, they state, “While it is critical that customers receive reliable service, we must also make sure that the rates they pay are reasonable for that service.”

In fact, they’re fighting to keep the increases less than one-third of what’s proposed.

Hearings on the rate increase could last the next two weeks. A decision is expected in February.

BGE says they would like to invest $3 billion in improvements over the next five years.


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