Saturday, June 24, 2006

Override in Annapolis

As reported today by Steve Vogel in the Washington Post, the General Assembly returned to Annapolis to easily override Governor Ehrlich's veto of the special session electricity regulation legislation. The law has many provisions over and above addressing BGE rate increases. In one sense, it re-regulates the industry by allowing utilities to once again own power plants. Pepco customers get a tiny amount of relief and get an extension to join the interest-free deferral plan. The law also fires the People's Counsel and the members of the industry-friendly Maryland Public Service Commission and puts stumbling blocks in front of any legal challenges. Governor Ehrlich had appointed four out of the five sitting commissioners. PSC Chair and former General Assembly wunderkind Ken Schisler had filed a suit against a previous similar law. The General Assembly gets to pick a list of names for the PSC chair and members for the Governor to select. If the Governor makes no pick, the General Assembly makes the final selection. So, I wonder who will be on the short list for the new PSC?

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