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As homeowners absorbed the news that their electric bills could go up as much as 72 percent (38.5 percent for Pepco's customers and 72 for BG&E's), the candidates for governor were quick to weigh in.

Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan, a Democratic contender for governor, called on Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich, to take a stand. "Where has the governor been on this?"

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, another Democratic candidate for governor, also took aim at Ehrlich.

"Where Governor Ehrlich has failed, we must act to establish a 'shock-absorber' to protect Maryland's hardworking families, who are already being hit hard by the soaring costs of home heating bills, increased property taxes, fees and tolls," he said in a statement

Ehrlich's aides dismissed the comments as political posturing and were quick to point out that the governor has already asked the utility commissioners, whom he appoints, to "do everything possible to minimize the burden on customers," said spokesman Henry Fawell. "That said, he remains very concerned about the impact this will have on customers."

That includes a plan that would spread the increase over more than one year--but include interest payments for those who choose that option.

By Phyllis Jordan  |  March 9, 2006; 2:10 PM ET
Categories:  Governor  
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