FPL Group

Furor over People's Counsel

Many of those on the front lines of the battle over rising electricity costs say one voice has been noticeably absent from the debate - the state's top consumer advocate, the Office of the People's Counsel. Lawmakers accuse the office and its chief, Patricia A. Smith, of failing to do enough to help BGE's 1.2 million customers who are slated to get hit with a 72 percent rate increase July 1 when six-year rate caps expire. "They need to be the advocates for the people, said Sen. Paula C. Hollinger, a Democrat from Baltimore County, who sponsored a bill this year to remove Smith from her job. "This is the biggest utility issue since I've been in this General...