News from Maryland is yet another example of why deregulation is the wrong choice for power customers. Reporting from the Baltimore Sun explains that while competition was supposed to drive down prices, many Marylanders are actually paying more for energy.
Nearly twenty years ago in Maryland, lawmakers deregulated the state’s electricity sector. According to the Sun, “They said opening up utility monopolies to competition would drive down prices. But for most residents who have signed up for those deals, energy costs have not fallen. Instead, data compiled by consumer advocates show they have spent hundreds of dollars a year more than they would have if they stuck with standard utility rates.”
In two new reports, consumer advocates say “confusing terms, teaser rates, and in some cases deceptive marketing tactics have sent bills soaring by as much as 50 percent to 75 percent.”
Those consumer advocates are now “calling on the General Assembly and Public Service Commission to improve transparency, public education, and law enforcement to better protect consumers at a time when other states are calling companies out for deceiving customers who struggle to afford to keep the lights on.”
“Something has to be done,” said Rachael Neill, who every month helps dozens of people find a way to pay utility bills as director of community services for the Govans Ecumenical Development Corp. “People are getting their power turned off over this.”
Energy Fairness continues to advocate against deregulating electricity markets, given the widespread – and still mounting – evidence that deregulation leads to higher prices, threatened reliability, and increased customer fraud.