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The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) is an independent administrative agency within the state government which regulates public utilities and certain taxi cab and other passenger services in Marylandmarker. Similar to other state Public Utilities Commissions, the Maryland PSC regulates and sets tariff rates for natural gas, electricity distribution, local telephone, water, and sewage disposal companies. The PSC also sets the tariff rates for pilot services for vessels and privately owned toll bridges, approves the construction of electric generating plants and overhead transmission lines with a voltage above 69 kV, and licenses retail natural gas and electricity suppliers. The PSC offices are located in Baltimoremarker in the William Donald Schaefer Buildingmarker.

Public Service Commission Commissioners

The five PSC commissioners serving staggered terms are appointed by the Governor and approved by the Maryland General Assembly. By statute the commissioners must be representative of the state's regions and demographics. The current commissioners are Douglas R. M. Nazarian (chairman), Harold D. Williams, Vacant, Susanne Brogan, and Lawrence Brenner.

Agency operations

The PSC enforces the state statutes in the Public Utility Companies article of the Annotated Code of Maryland. Hearings on matters subject to the jurisdiction of the PSC are conducted before the Commission or by its hearing examiner. The PSC has an independent division hearing examiners which issue proposed orders, which may be appealed to the Commission. Most hearings are held in the PSC offices in Maryland, but state statutes require public hearings for some subject matter to be held in the county or municipality affected by the proceeding. Final orders are issued by the Commission and are subject to judicial review in the state circuit courts. The PSC publishes a selection of its orders each year along with its annual report to the Maryland General Assembly in its own reporter.

History

Supported by a plank in the Maryland Democratic Party state electoral platform to enact a regulatory utility law and by Governor Austin Crothers, the PSC was established in 1910. The initial purpose of the PSC was to fix the rates of steam railroads, street railways, ferries, toll bridges, and gas, electric, heating, water, telegraph, telephone, and water utilities.

In 1999, legislation titled the Electric Customer Choice and Competition Act of 1999 was enacted to resturcture the electric industry and electric generation was deregulated.

Electric generating plants

Although the PSC, as a result of the 1999 deregulation of the state electric industry, no longer regulates the cost of electricity generated in plants located in Maryland, it still is responsible for the approval of electric generating plants and transmission lines and for the approval of certain modifications. An entity planning to construct or modify a generation plant or transmission line must receive a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) from the PSC. An application for a CPCN must first be filed with the PSC and is then reviewed before a PSC Hearing Examiner in a formal adjudicatory process, which includes an opportunity for public participation. Since the PSC is an independent commission, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Power Plant Research Program (PPRP) is responsible for the coordination of the State agencies' review. This coordinated review process allows the State to examine potential impacts upon its natural and cultural resources, environment and economy and typically culminates in a set of recommended licensing conditions. In addition, the PSC Staff and a State agency charged with protecting the interests of electricity ratepayers, the Office of People's Council (OPC), intervenes in the case and can present their arguments and opinions. Upon completion of the adjudicatory and public hearings, the PSC will issue a proposed order. After a period which an appeal can be made to the full commission, a final order is released either granting or denying the application. Certain small generating plants, including most emergency generators, are approved using an abbreviated process.

Although there are approximately 40 generating plants that provide power for customers in the state, Maryland imports about 30% of its electricity from neighboring states.

Electric Generating Stations in Maryland Larger Than 50 MW
Station Operator Location Capacity (MW)
Brandon Shoresmarker Constellation Energy Orchard Beachmarker 1370.0
Charles P.marker Cranemarker Constellation Energy Bowleys Quartersmarker 415.8
Calvert Cliffsmarker Constellation Energy Lusbymarker 1960.7
Chalk Pointmarker Mirant Eagle Harbormarker 2647.0
Conowingomarker Exelon Corporation Conowingomarker 510.4
Dickersonmarker Mirant Dickersonmarker 930.0
Easton Easton Utilities Eastonmarker 72.4
Gould Street Constellation Energy Baltimoremarker 100.0
Herbert A.marker Wagnermarker Constellation Energy Orchard Beach 1058.5
Luke Mill NewPage Corporation Lukemarker 65.0
Montgomery County Resource Recovery Facilitymarker Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Auth. Dickersonmarker 67.8
Morgantownmarker Mirant Morgantownmarker 1548.0
Notch Cliff Constellation Energy Glen Armmarker 144.0
Panda Brandywine Panda Energy Brandywinemarker 288.8
Perryman Constellation Energy Perrymanmarker 404.4
Philadelphia Road Constellation Energy Baltimore County 82.8
R. Paul Smith Allegheny Energy Supply Williamsportmarker 109.5
Riverside Constellation Energy Dundalkmarker 257.2
Rock Springs Old Dominion Electric Cooperative Rock Springs 374.8
Sparrows Point Severstal Sparrows Pointmarker 120.0
Vienna NRG Energy Viennamarker 183.0
Warrior Runmarker AES Corporation Cumberlandmarker 229.0
Westport Constellation Energy Baltimore 121.5
Wheelabrator Baltimore Refuse Energy Systems Waste Management, Inc. Baltimore 64.5


Base load coal and nuclear generating plants generate the greater portion of electricity in Maryland. Coal-fired plants producing 60.1% of the state's electric generation in 2006 with nuclear plants generating 28.3%, oil and gas plants 5.5%, and hydroelectric plants and other renewables providing the remainder. As of 2006, there was no electric generation provided by wind-powered generation facilities in Maryland, although several facilities had been granted regulatory authority to be constructed. In 2007 the PSC reported that 67% of the electric generating capacity in the state came from plants that were over thirty years old.

References

  1. Background Information
  2. Commissioners
  3. Annotated Code of Maryland, Pub. Util. Cos. ยง 7-207.


See also

:Category:Energy resource facilities in Maryland

External links




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