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BGE Bites Back

Governor

Fed up with criticism from politicians and electricity customers, Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. is fighting back this week with a $1 million media campaign.

Expect to see the company's advertisements on television, radio and in the newspaper for at least the next two weeks.

The ads say they are intended to explain "the simple truth about the July 1 rate increase" of 72 percent that has so incensed customers. But the campaign is also meant to counter Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, a Democratic candidate for governor, who has taken on the company and state regulators from the Public Service Commission.

"Enough was enough with the misinformation," said BGE spokesman Robert Gould. "In the mayor's case, it would appear to be an effort to pave the way to a November win on the backs of BGE."

A Baltimore judge has agreed to consider O'Malley's contention that the PSC should start over in reviewing a plan negotiated by BGE and Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. (R) to ease customers into paying higher rates.

In one ad that appeared in the Washington Post on Sunday, a chart shows BGE's prices will still be comparable to other utilities in the Northeast such as those in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Steve Kearney, a spokesman for O'Malley, said "Gov. Ehrlich and his friends at BGE can bluster and call names all they want. The facts will be heard on May 30" - the date set by a Baltimore judge.

The ads, Kearney said, are "extremely selective in making comparisons," excluding the District and Virginia, for instance.

By Ann Marimow  |  May 23, 2006; 7:18 AM ET
Categories:  Governor  
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