Maryland’s legislated goal to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2045 requires an unprecedented financial commitment, but fortunately there are multiple pathways with varying price tags that can hit that mark. Key decision makers must review these options strictly through a lens of affordability for customers and feasibility of infrastructure upgrades to ensure an equitable energy transition.
As a regulated company, BGE is responsible for delivering safe and reliable service and is not permitted to maximize profits at the expense of our customers. We are also fuel agnostic, delivering natural gas and electricity to our customers per their choice and the state’s requirements and will be required to implement what lawmakers pass or regulators order.
This means we have the option to wait for their decisions, but we are accountable to our customers and communities now and in the future and cannot risk compromising their energy future. This is particularly relevant now that loud and unaccountable voices claim that natural gas has no role in Maryland’s energy future.
This is concerning to our 700,000 customers who rely on natural gas. But it should concern everyone.
Plainly stated, removing natural gas from the state’s fuel mix would place an unnecessary financial burden on all Marylanders. Full electrification requires $36 billion in infrastructure work over the next two decades in addition to the on average $25,000 every current gas customer would have to spend to electrify their homes. An integrated energy system approach featuring dramatically expanded electrification with a natural gas backup for the coldest winter days can meet the same goal and is $15 billion cheaper.
Multiple studies show that an integrated energy system is the most affordable path to reach the legislated net-zero emissions goal. Choosing full electrification is not equitable, does not make financial sense, and does not put Marylanders first.
Despite this, opposition to BGE’s proposed multi-year plan, which lays the foundation for the integrated energy system and is currently under review by the Maryland Public Service Commission, claims that BGE makes purely profit-fueled decisions driven by our parent company, Exelon, and its shareholders.
The fact is, BGE’s net income is driven by infrastructure investments made to serve our customers – and the $15 billion premium required by full electrification would increase profits and shareholder returns.
But the difference between BGE and those loudly questioning our motives is that we are part of the community fabric of Maryland. We are accountable to our customers both now and in the future and are focused on our customers’ needs rather than maximizing profits.
Our multi-year plan puts customers first by ensuring continued safe and reliable energy delivery while being the most affordable path to net zero. We hope that our regulators allow us to do the work necessary to make the energy transition possible – and equitable – for all Marylanders.