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Electric bills to increase by 26 percent

Residents will begin paying more starting next month

Ingrid Mezo

(3/16) Thurmont residents will see a 26 percent increase in their electricity bills starting in April, rather than in July as town officials had originally expected.

During the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, electricity bills will rise above the current rate by 42 percent, according to the town’s energy contract consultant David V. Downes of Downes Associates Inc.

The Public Service Commission of Maryland, which regulates public utilities and certain transportation companies doing business in the state, denied town officials’ request to implement the higher rate starting in July, Mayor Martin Burns said.

‘‘The way the tariff was interpreted to read required us to forward-project 12 months," Burns said.

‘‘It’s a legality issue."

Town officials in November voted to sign a five-year contract with Allegheny Energy Supply because its contract with town and Dominion Energy Marketing was expiring in June.

Despite the increase in electric costs, Thurmont residents are better off than others in the state, according to Downes.

Starting in January, Baltimore Gas and Electric customers were paying 72 percent more for electricity, and PEPCO customers were paying 38.5 percent more, he said.

Information on how to save money on energy bills and on state assistance programs will be available in the Thurmont town office.

Payment plans for electric bills will also be available. Consumer tax credits are also available through the federal government.

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