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REAL Release: Legislation to Block Energy Choice Elicits Public Outcry from Maryland Customers, Companies and Organizations

March 13, 2024

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The following is a news release from the Retail Energy Advancement League. disclaims any responsibility for the content or data contained in the news release. Any views expressed in the release may not necessarily reflect the view of

News Release:

Legislation to Block Energy Choice Elicits Public Outcry from Maryland Customers, Companies and Organizations

SB 1 cuts clean energy and EV charging products, blocks companies from competing with the utility and backtracks Maryland’s decarbonization progress

ANNAPOLIS, March 13, 2024 - Maryland customers, companies and organizations have mobilized in opposition to Senate Bill 1, sponsored by Senator Malcolm Augustine, which would block retail energy suppliers from offering innovative energy products that compete with the utility basic service offering.

The passage of this bill bans long-term fixed contracts that shield customers from frequent utility rate hikes. The legislation also bans all products priced higher than the utility rate, even if there are additional value-added benefits, such as 100% renewable energy plans (the utility supply is only 37% renewable energy), free EV charging equipment and free nights and weekend charging and innovative time-of-use programs that incentivize customers to reduce usage during peak demand by offering free electric vehicle charging or special rates.

As suppliers are being banned from offering these products, electric utilities have received approval to fund these types of programs through customer rates, including the cost of research and development, advertising and deployment of these types of programs, even if the customer isn’t participating in the program.

“This legislation was developed in a vacuum with no input from market subject matter experts. As a result, the legislation does not accomplish the goal of improving consumer protections, but it does have the unintended impact of blocking a range of value-added products that customers have chosen, which play a crucial role in meeting state decarbonization goals,” said Christopher Ercoli, CEO of the Retail Energy Advancement League (‘REAL’). “This legislation will restrict retail suppliers to offering only basic supply like the utility. It is a market killer.”

At a February 15 Economic Matters Committee hearing, John Hanger, former Pennsylvania Utility Commission, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary and consumer advocate said, "This bill would kill long term contracts . . . The price cap would kill just about every green energy offer."

In Maryland, almost 500,000 residential customers chose to enroll with an alternative energy supplier in 2023, and many of the products these customers chose will be banned if this legislation passes.

“I appreciate the option of choosing the least expensive source of energy,” said Robert Koch in Anne Arundel County

In the last two weeks, more than 1,200 Maryland customers have contacted their legislator asking them to oppose the legislation.

“I like to compare options on the PSC website and lock in a rate for 1 to 3 years if rates are relatively low. I appreciate the sponsors' intention to reduce abuse and predatory pricing, but limiting future prices to the prior trailing price will preclude fixed price contracts when market conditions require a price that is above the prior price,” said Steve Shapiro in Montgomery County.

“Energy costs, like everything else, have gone through the roof. I want competition and to find the lowest price. Robbing me of this costs me and my family money,” said Aaron Hoge in Wicomico County.

While Maryland customers have voiced their preference to retain their retail supplier, they have been overlooked. The bill passed the Senate on March 8 and has moved to the House for consideration. The proposed legislation would force Marylanders to switch back to utilities, contradicting their expressed desires.

“My money, my choice. I'm tired of politicians trying to make every discussion for me or telling me what's right for me; they don't have my best interests,” said Robert Death in Anne Arundel County.

Retail energy industry leaders expressed their concerns with the legislation in a letter to Maryland Governor Moore, emphasizing the urgent need for action to prevent the legislation from becoming law. These leaders made clear that reputable energy suppliers may view the Maryland consumer market as closed for business, driving companies out and the cost of energy up.

"The legislation would effectively end renewable energy choice in Maryland and move our state back towards utility monopoly control,” said Tom Matzzie, Founder and CEO of CleanChoice Energy, a retail energy supplier. “As a climate activist and a Maryland resident it would pain me greatly to be forced to buy the dirty energy mix sold to me by the monopoly utility. Maryland should not deprive customers like me of this choice."

This legislation comes at a time when the Maryland Public Service Commission is reviewing the market and opportunity to improve consumer protections and market structures. REAL recommends these proposed reforms from the legislature be reviewed in the regulatory process so all associated impacts are assessed and stakeholders have an opportunity to participate in the process.

Senate Bill 1 significantly disadvantages both consumers and businesses alike. Opponents urge policymakers to reconsider the implications of this legislation and work towards solutions that uphold the principles of competition, consumer empowerment, and environmental sustainability.

Marylanders can take action by texting EnergyMaryland to 844-435-9600.

About Retail Energy Advancement League (‘REAL’)

REAL is a national advocacy organization dedicated to the expansion and modernization of American retail energy markets.

Established by a coalition of companies advocating for smart regulation and consumer protections, REAL engages with commissioners and regulators in 10 states, including Maryland, to promote competitive markets and strong consumer safeguards through discussions, forums, and proactive engagement.

To learn more visit


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