More utility competition was supposed to drive down prices, but many Marylanders are paying more for energy
By Scott Dance
December 7, 2018
Marylanders were supposed to be saving money on their gas and electric bills.
Almost two decades ago, state lawmakers welcomed an influx of energy companies offering contracts in mailings and door to door. They said opening up utility monopolies to competition would drive down prices.
But for most residents who have signed up for those deals, energy costs have not fallen. Instead, data compiled by consumer advocates show they have spent hundreds of dollars a year more than they would have if they stuck with standard utility rates.
Energy industry officials say customers choose to pay more, in some cases for renewable energy or for perks such as smart thermostats. But in two new reports, consumer advocates say confusing terms, teaser rates and in some cases deceptive marketing tactics have sent bills soaring by as much as 50 percent to 75 percent.