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Md. lawmakers approve natural gas surcharge bill

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 7, 2013 at 2:14 pm •  Published: February 7, 2013

"This is not about safety," Madaleno said. "This is about ending the structure of regulation that we have had for a century in the state of Maryland about regulating gas companies. If we allow this to move forward, the companies will be able to come in and ask for a surcharge without having to go through a rate-setting case."

Sen. George Edwards, R-Garrett, said he wasn't pleased with the idea, but that ratepayers will end up paying one way or another. He also cited safety and environmental concerns.

"I'm not thrilled with $2, but I can tell you a lot of these pipes need repair," Edwards said.

Lawmakers also are weighing a proposal by O'Malley to help develop offshore wind that would add about $1.50 each month to residential rates.

Maryland analysts estimated the surcharge on gas bills could raise $36 million a year, if the maximum charge is assessed on all existing gas customers, with about $24.6 million of that coming from residential customers. About $11.4 million would come from non-residential customers.