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Power Companies Meet the Power of AARP

En español | In recent years, AARP has become a leading voice representing consumers on utilities issues in Maryland, advocating for consumer protections in both the legislative and regulatory arenas.

One example of AARP’s impact is that electricity customers in Maryland will not be required to pay up-front costs for smart meters. Representing consumers in the cases before the Public Service Commission, AARP advocated against the utilities’ requested surcharge. As a result, the Commission will require BGE, Pepco and Delmarva to prove the cost effectiveness of their systems before charging consumers for them. AARP advocacy also helped protect BGE consumers from remote disconnections and mandatory Time-of-Use rates, which would have especially harmed older and lower income and households who need affordable home heating and cooling to maintain their health.

As the utilities now move ahead with the deployment of smart meters under the ordered conditions, AARP Maryland is working collaboratively with BGE, Pepco and Delmarva to develop robust consumer education plans to help customers understand the meters. This week, Pepco filed its completed plan with the Public Service Commission, which must approve it before any new meters are installed. As a member of the working group which helped write the plan, AARP played a key role in ensuring the inclusion of comprehensive measures to raise general awareness of smart meters, inform and prepare consumers for the installation of new meters in their homes, and help customers understand how best to utilize the meters to realize energy savings.

Recently, members have begun looking to AARP for help holding Pepco accountable for improving service in Maryland and DC. As most consumers – especially those who have lost power in the recent storms – are aware, the current standards are inadequate and Pepco’s reliability has been called “dismal.” Legislative and regulatory remedies (including the Public Service Commission’s proposed regulations) are proliferating, and AARP will remain vigilant in monitoring those proposals and advocating on behalf of consumers for the strongest possible improvements.

You can help. AARP welcomes advocacy volunteers interested in supporting our work on utilities and other issues of interest to older Marylanders. Volunteers attend hearings and events, contact legislators, and share their personal stories to help make the case for action. To learn more, please contact us via email at mdaarp@aarp.org.

AARP Maryland will continue working to achieve stable, lowest-possible electricity prices; ensure adequate, reliable supply; and strengthen consumer protections. With your help, we have “The Power to Make it Better.”

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