In April, 2021, the Maryland General Assembly passed House Bill 768—Montgomery County Community Choice Energy Pilot Program, that gives Montgomery County the authority to implement an opt-out Community Choice Energy program.
In March, 2020, the Maryland House of Delegates passed HB 561 that requires state agencies to draft rules allowing local communities to negotiate directly with energy utilities to set strong renewable energy goals and lower electricity rates. The COVID pandemic forced the General Assembly to end its session early.
Maryland lawmakers passed HB 768 in April, 2021 that allows a community choice energy pilot program in Montgomery County. Since the bill passed, the County has been developing an implementation plan and is participating in a Public Service Commission workgroup that will develop the regulatory framework for the pilot.
The working group comprised of county staff, retail suppliers, climate action groups, apartment and building associations and consultants has been set up to draft legislation and develop regulations that would govern the program. With many varied viewpoints and priorities at the table, it has been a challenging process, but they are making progress. Consultants involved with the program launch are assisting with regulation development, educating elected officials, power mix options and pricing.
Currently, work is being done on finalizing regulations for the program, with rulemaking sessions scheduled with the Public Service Commission this summer. There continues to be some differences between the views of the County and Commission staff regarding how the program should operate and the role the Commission plays in oversight. In addition, they are wrestling with questions about how Standard Offer Service electricity would be procured in the County following the launch of the CCA, which is complicated by the fact the County is served by three different utilities.
INVESTOR OWNED UTILITIES
CCA-Enabling Legislation: HB 768
Cities are banding together to buy renewables at scale. September 2, 2021, GreenBiz
Maryland's First Community Choice Energy Legislation Becomes Law. June 1, 2021, Food and Water Watch
Maryland General Assembly Passes Community Choice Energy Pilot Program Enabling Montgomery County Residents More Affordable and Equitable Access to Renewable Energy. April 15, 2021, Montgomery County, MD press release
Tom Hucker: Allow Maryland Communities to Expand Clean Power. February 16, 2021, Maryland Matters