Retail Energy Supply Association Announces Serious Consequences of Maryland’s Senate Bill 1/House Bill 267

The Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA), the nation’s leading trade association representing competitive retail energy suppliers, announces its concern about the serious implications Senate Bill 1/House Bill 267 (SB1) will have for Maryland consumers, businesses, and workers should it become law.

The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Malcolm Augustine and Del. Brian Crosby with the promise to protect constituents in the State of Maryland from paying high energy prices. However, as written, SB1 will end up doing the opposite. Not only will it make it nearly impossible for retail suppliers to conduct business in Maryland, but it will effectively kill the market, leading to no choices for residential consumers, lost savings and higher prices from the utilities, and hardworking Marylanders losing their jobs.

“While this bill has been touted as a consumer protection bill, it is just the opposite. It is harmful to the very consumers it purports to want to protect,” said Jay Harpole, Chief Executive Officer at APG&E. “If passed, this bill would harm consumers, businesses and the environment while simultaneously hurting competition and costing jobs.”

“IGS has invested millions in developing solar projects throughout the state, and passage of SB1 will signal to the energy community that now is not the time to invest in Maryland,” said Scott White,President and CEO, IGS Energy.

Today, more than 500,000 Marylanders, including nearly 15% of residential energy consumers, choose to purchase their energy from a competitive electric or gas supplier. According to U.S. Energy Information Administration data, restructured states, like Maryland, have consistently outperformed monopoly states on customer pricing and emissions reductions. Maryland all-sector electricity prices have increased by only 2.7% from 2008 to 2022, while prices in monopoly states have increased by 40.3% over the same time.

Beyond the business implications, SB1 will have a detrimental impact on Maryland’s ability to meet legislative climate goals of reducing emissions by 60% by 2031 and reaching net-zero emissions by 2045. The bill contradicts the state’s agenda to attract innovation and business investment, sending a clear message to the more than 500,000 customers in Maryland that their right to select their own supplier, plan and product is not important.

“RESA is calling upon legislators to reconsider the significant ramifications of this proposed legislation,” said Tracy McCormick, executive director of RESA. “The current draft reflects a misunderstanding of the energy industry and the established practices of companies that have responsibly served Maryland consumers for many years.”

RESA members have asked Governor Moore to intervene to ensure that an entire industry is not inadvertently killed, jobs are not lost, innovation and competition are preserved, and that Marylanders retain their right to choose what is best for them.

“We would be remiss if we did not sound the alarm about the tremendously negative impact this legislation will have on Maryland when reputable companies exit the market in droves,” said Frank Caliva, RESA’s national spokesperson. “It’s not too late to make thoughtful adjustments to this bill if we have reasonable people who are willing to work with us.”

Last February, RESA publicly endorsed the effort by the state’s Public Service Commission to identify chronic, intentional violators of the existing consumer protection rules around retail energy and then to act, including by the PSC revoking the licenses to operate. However, bad actors have been left to operate in the market despite this “maximum enforcement” effort. Additionally, legislation supported by RESA and signed into law in 2020 by then-Governor Hogan (SB 603/Chapter 374) requires suppliers to undergo annual compliance training to demonstrate an understanding of applicable consumer laws and regulations. To date, the PSC has not implemented that program.

“RESA shares the desire of legislators and the Administration to ensure consumers are protected when exercising their choice of energy provider. However, we believe the existing rules have not been tried and found wanting; rather, in many ways, they have not yet been tried at all. Before the drastic and damaging action required by SB1 is taken, we urge policymakers to work with parties like RESA to ensure that existing rules and regulations are implemented fully to benefit all consumers and the State of Maryland,” added Caliva.

ABOUT RESA

The Retail Energy Supply Association is a broad and diverse group of retail energy suppliers who share the common vision that competitive retail electricity and natural gas markets deliver a more efficient, customer-oriented outcome than a regulated utility structure. RESA is devoted to working with all stakeholders to promote vibrant and sustainable competitive retail energy markets for residential and industrial consumers. For more information, visit resausa.org. Follow RESA on LinkedInFacebook and X (Twitter).

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