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The Blame Game

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and his aides used a press appearance in Annapolis Friday to try and pin the blame for the impending electricity rate hikes on Democrats in the General Assembly.

They said Democrats led by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. pushed a plan to deregulate the electric utilities without anticipating the effect it would have on rates, once artificial caps they imposed were lifted.

"The plan hatched by the General Assembly and the administration in 1999 has failed," Ehrlich said from the front lawn of the governor's mansion.

Democrats, however, aren't going to let the moment pass without reminding the governor of his own effort to give credit for the restructuring to one of his own, Kenneth Schisler. When Ehrlich appointed the former delegate to chair the regulatory agency that oversees utility matters, he had this to say in a press release.

"Delegate Schisler has been at the center of the debate over public utility regulation in Maryland for more than a decade, earning the respect and trust of his legislative colleagues," said Governor Ehrlich. "He shares my vision of both a competitive marketplace and renewed technology investments that ultimately benefit the consumer."

The release went on to say, "Throughout his tenure, he worked on major reforms in the telecommunications, electric and natural gas industries. He served on the Task Force for Electric Utility Restructuring in 1998 and, in 1999, was instrumental in the subsequent utility restructuring legislation."

By  |  March 11, 2006; 3:01 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly  
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