Two decades ago energy companies and their lobbyist convinced legislators that Maryland consumers would save money if only they deregulated the electric and gas companies. During the 2019 session, the industry hired dozens of plugged-in lobbyists to advocate for a measure to change the way electric and gas utilities set their annual rates. HB 653 Electric Companies and Gas Companies – Rate Regulation – Alternative Rate Plans was sponsored by Chairman Dereck Davis. Under the radar of the Public Service Commission and consumer advocates, the bill passed the House Economic Matters Committee 20-0 and the full House 83-51. AARP Maryland, however, took notice and our members sprang into action, sending hundreds of emails and faxes to their senators urging them to kill this anti-consumer measure. The bill’s supporters complained about the “noise” made by AARP volunteer advocates, but our efforts made a difference. The more AARP members made “noise,” the more lawmakers began to pay attention and the bill stalled in the Senate.
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