Baltimore, MD -- Today, the Baltimore City Council unanimously passed a resolution introduced by Council President Brandon Scott in support of Community Choice Energy state legislation. The legislation, sponsored by Del. Lourig Charkoudian and Sen. Pam Beidle (HB561, SB315), would enable Maryland’s municipalities and counties to negotiate and purchase their own utilities packages, providing increased renewable energy access and potentially lowering rates for utilities customers.
“Many Baltimoreans struggle to keep up with the rising cost of their utility bills,” said Council President Brandon Scott. “Too many families spend a disproportionate amount of their hard-earned household income on energy. We must do more to ensure equitable access to clean energy in our city. Community Choice Energy is one way we can lower energy costs, while investing in renewable energy.”
Community Choice Energy can be used as a tool both to fight climate change and protect ratepayers. By allowing municipalities and counties to request bids to meet their current energy demands, they are able to seek proposals with higher renewable energy content and cheaper rates than what the utility currently offers. It gives communities local control over their energy supply, while addressing climate and energy justice.
“Baltimoreans would greatly benefit from Community Choice Energy, and we thank the City Council for passing this resolution in support,” said Rianna Eckel, Senior Maryland Organizer with Food & Water Action. “With Community Choice, Baltimore could prioritize lowering rates to lighten the energy burden on low income families alongside addressing our climate crisis. We need innovative policies to push us to 100 per cent clean, renewable energy in a way that is equitable for all Marylanders. Community Choice Energy is just that.”
There are currently eight states that have authorized Community Choice Energy programs: California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Virginia. These programs serve millions of customers around the country and consistently exceed utility performance regarding electric rates, renewable content, and greenhouse gas reductions.
“Energy justice is a top priority for the NAACP, and we support Community Choice Energy because it’s the truest manifestation of energy democracy,” said Reverend Kobi Little, President of the NAACP Baltimore City Branch and Political Action Chair of the NAACP Maryland State Conference. “Community Choice Energy gives access to renewable energy to low-income communities, who otherwise might not have the option to say, ‘We don’t want to pollute our environment.’ It’s a pathway to responsible energy policy and decision-making. We applaud the City Council for the passage of this resolution.”
Baltimore joins Montgomery County and Anne Arundel County in officially supporting the Community Choice Energy legislation. Montgomery County Executive Mark Elrich and Anne Arundel County Executive Stuart Pittman have voiced their support for the legislation.