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FCC alerting consumers [See Full Alert] be on the lookout for callers pretending to be utility company employees demanding immediate payment, often by prepaid debit cards, credit cards, or gift card.  OPC warns consumers to be alert for door to door sales persons claiming to be from utility companies.  Always ask for proper identification and do not show billing documents to such individuals.  Contact police if you are not completely sure of person's identity.  


New Rules for Lifeline Assistance Effective October 31, 2017. To See Full Consumer Guide go to our Publications Page or go directly to our new Lifeline Guide.

People's Counsel has been made aware of notices sent by Verizon to Traditional Copper Line customers.  See OPC Information Notice: Verizon Fiber Notice

People's Counsel has just come out with our County By County Resource Guides.  These guides provide Contact numbers for Assistance in your County.  See our Publications

People's Counsel has filed with the PSC to add "Physician's Assistant" to the list of medical professionals who can certify a serious illness to the utilities (currently only doctors and nurse practitioners).  See Petition by OPC to PSC for Rule Making (RM52).

PEPCO has filed for a $128 Million rate increase to pay for its deployment of "Smart meters, with an average $16/month increase for residential customers.  See PSC Case# 9418.

Columbia Gas has filed for a rate increase to pay for infrastructure costs.  See PSC Case# 9417.

PSC has scheduled hearings for June 10 and 11, 2016 to consider BGE "microgrid proposal".  OPC has submitted comments opposing the proposal and rate recovery from BGE customers.  See PSC Case# 9416.

Electric companies will conduct bid solicitations for residential SOS on April 18, with PSC hearing on April 21.  OPC will post new SOS rates on our website as soon as they are available.

2016 Legislative Session ended on April 11 with success for utility consumers.  OPC testified on numerous bills.  Utility-sponsored bills that impose unnecessary charges did not pass. See Current Legislation issues on this website. 

BGE Rate case: 2-week hearing finished.  OPC tells PSC that BGE has not shown smart meter deployment to be cost-effective--BGE should not get $200+ million rate increase.  PSC Order due June 4.

Exelon-Pepco Holdings Merger: D.C. PSC issues 2-1 decision approving merger.  Next steps in Maryland:  OPC has appealed the MD PSC 3-2 decision to Court of Special Appeals.  Exelon must come back to MD and match the MD benefits to DC benefits.

In December 2015 OPC got a win for Columbia Gas customers when Maryland Court of Appeals denied Columbia Gas request to review prior decisions denying the utility's attempt to recover costs for environmental remediation of property not used for utility service.  House Bill 571, which would permit PSC to allow such recovery, fails to get through Senate on April 11, after OPC opposition.  

People's Counsel is interviewed on data privacy in March-April 2016 edition of Public Power magazine, a publication of the American Public Power Ass'n.

FY 2016 Resource Guide for Baltimore County has been updated on this website.

Energy supplier consumer protection rules.  After two year process, PSC issues final revisions to electric and natural gas supplier regulations.  Energy suppliers must comply starting May 1.  Rules provide for more disclosures, variable rate disclosures, shorter switch times, and requirements for supplier agents.  See OPC Supplier Fact Sheets on marketing and contracting rules for suppliers, on our Publications page.  Check out People's Counsel discussion of energy suppliers on MPT's Direct Connections (1/14/16) at 

OPC get successful rulings in investigations of energy suppliers, Major Energy and Xoom energy in PSC Case #9346.  PSC agree that they violated Maryland law in their marketing and contracting practices, and imposed civil penalties.

OPC has filed expert testimony on behalf of utility customers in SMECO and Sandpiper Energy rate cases PSC Case Nos. 9396 and 9410.

Electric companies filed  annual reliability performance reports with PSC at the end of March.  OPC and its experts will evaluate reports and submit comments to PSC in Case #9353 this summer.

Consumer Issues at the FCC.  OPC and NASUCA have submitted petitions and comments in 3 FCC dockets on issues affecting telecommunications consumers.  OPC has challenged the FCC's failure to require companies to provide back-up power for IP-based voice services (cable, fiber) adversely affecting consumer's access to 911 emergency services, and argued for strong consumer protections that are necessary during any transition from traditional wireline phone service to other services, including protection from premature neglect or abandonment of existing copper systems for traditional phone service.