Annapolis, MD -- On Saturday, the Maryland House of Delegates passed a landmark bill (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 Community Choice Energy (CCE) bill also sets the path for allowing Montgomery County to be the first pilot program in beginning these negotiations, which other communities can then follow.
Community choice aggregation programs allow counties and municipalities to negotiate directly with utilities, giving them the opportunity to drive down prices and seek new renewable energy options for ratepayers. Eight other states have implemented similar community choice aggregation plans to the one proposed in Maryland, with tremendously positive results. Multiple counties in Maryland, including Montgomery County and Prince George's County, have officially endorsed the CCE bill, as has the Baltimore City Council. Environmental organizations and consumer rights advocacy groups are also strong supporters of the measure.
“We’re so excited to see Community Choice Energy (CCE) moving forward, as it could make a big difference to Montgomery County ratepayers and renewable energy efforts,” says Lily Hawkins, Maryland Organizer for Food & Water Action. “This legislation would jumpstart CCE programs to increase consumer choice and provide equitable options for renewable energy. This pilot program will allow Marylanders to see the progress CCE has brought to other states around the country for years. Based on the broad support it’s received from county officials, city governments, green groups, and consumer advocates, we know it has the potential to check a lot of different boxes. We all will benefit majorly as this model takes off here in Maryland.”