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O'Malley Releases Video on Constellation Energy Battle

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) has taken his battle with Constellation Energy into cyberspace.

The governor emailed a video called "Protecting Maryland Consumers" to thousands of constitutents and users of Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Linked In and MySpace. A year before his reelection campaign will be at full throttle, it's a message to Baltimore-area voters that O'Malley is fighting for them against the energy company that raised their electricity rates.

"For too many of our families, it's become a monthly exercise to figure out whether to pay the BGE bill, or to pay the grocery bill," the governor tells the camera, referring to customers of Baltimore Gas & Electric, a regulated utility owned by Constellation. "That's why it's so important for your state government to do everything we can to protect our hardworking families .."

Sound like a campaign commercial? In effect it is, an early effort to gain control over an issue that vexes voters and could make O'Malley vulnerable next year.

O'Malley has been fighting a public relations war with Constellation since he took office and pledged to lower high electricity bills across Maryland, the result of the legislature's switch to deregulation. Now Constellation wants to sell half its nuclear plants to a French company, and the Public Service Commission has ruled that it has a say in determining whether the deal is in the public interest.

The concern of the PSC and the O'Malley administration is that electricity rates will edge up further still. O'Malley has proposed a menu of givebacks, including a 10 percent rebate on the bills of BGE customers. But Constellation is fighting his plan, saying the door on givebacks was closed last year, when the company agreed to give BGE customers a one-time rebate of $170.

By Lisa Rein  |  June 19, 2009; 8:54 AM ET
Categories:  Lisa Rein  
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What's getting lost in the rhetoric coming from the Governor's office in Annapolis is the fact that this massive private investment by EDF has been structured so as to not harm the BGE customer - in fact, BGE customers are paying at or below what other state utility customers are paying and that won't change as a result of this transaction. No executive, including our CEO, will benefit financially from EDF's investment contrary to what is being suggested by the Governor's office. To the contrary, it's the State of Maryland that stands to significantly gain from the creation of thousands of new jobs, billions of dollars of private investment, a payment of approximately $100 million from Constellation Energy in the form of taxes related to the sale of half of the company’s Calvert Cliffs plant, and clean, new energy in the form of a potential third nuclear plant at Calvert Cliffs. Those are the facts and they are irrefutable.

Posted by: Robgould | June 19, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

OK, I may not agree with everything our Governor has done, but I did vote for him...I had no say in out-of-state Constellation Energy taking everything over.

If I have to choose sides between Governor O'Malley and some out-of-state price-gouging power-barons.... O'Malley wins everytime. I am interested to hear how MD taxpayer/consumers can defend being against re-regulation.

I say re-regulate now. Right now.

Posted by: free-donny | June 19, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

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