Changing Our Ways: PJM Interconnections, FERC, and the Bigger Picture Building the clean energy economy in Maryland is something I work on every single day. I do it with an urgency to match the climate crisis we are facing. In addition to significantly increasing Maryland’s commitment to offshore wind, for the past four years I have specifically been focusing my efforts on ways to improve how our electricity is generated, delivered, and regulated.
Maryland’s electrical grid is overseen by PJM Interconnection, a regional transmission organization (RTO) that coordinates the movement of electricity for all or parts of 13 states and the District of Columbia. (Fun fact: PJM got its start back in 1956 when utility companies in (P)ennsylvania, New (J)ersey, and (M)aryland decided to form an integrated power pool).
In general, being a member of an RTO like PJM is good for our state because it helps ensure a reliable electrical grid. However, the oversized influence of major utilities and fossil fuel companies in the decision-making at PJM has thwarted the ability of Maryland and other states to meet our ambitious clean energy goals. Decisions about capacity market rates and interconnection processes that affect ratepayers are routinely being made behind closed doors.
I have been outspoken on this issue (see articles in Utility Dive, Maryland Matters, and Politico), introduced legislation to increase transparency, and recently had a chance to speak to the PJM Board about my concerns and possible solutions. Last week I also met to discuss these issues with a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Commissioner Allison Clements, because her agency regulates PJM. For several years, I have organized state legislators from across the PJM Region through the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators to create change at PJM.
I will continue working at all levels of government–local, state, regional, and federal–to ensure we are all moving with the same urgency away from our current model of burning fossil fuels to a cleaner, greener future.
Power in the Park: Come to the New Hampshire Estates Park at 8825 Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring on Thursday, June 1st, from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. to learn how to save energy (and the planet!), lower your utility bills, get clean energy, and live in a healthier house!
This is the third year I have organized this event to promote state programs and agencies helping energy consumers. There will be free food, games and activities for all ages, and lots of energy-saving give-aways. As a bonus, if you bring your utility bills, you can sign up for assistance on the spot! More details (in English, Spanish, and Amharic) can be found here.
Enrolling SNAP Recipients in Medicaid: The Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative recently praised one of my bills for significantly improving health equity across the state. The measure will help an estimated 65,000 uninsured Marylanders get health coverage by automatically enrolling recipients of SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) into Medicaid, if they are eligible but not yet enrolled. Importantly, this legislation also cuts down on paperwork by allowing coverage to be renewed automatically for at least 600,000 Marylanders who rely on Medicaid for their health care.
Do You Have a Maryland 529 Plan? To address problems with Maryland’s 529 college savings program, my fellow state legislators and I voted to transfer its administration to the State Treasurer’s Office. As part of the transition process, the State Treasurer wants to hear about people’s experiences and issues with the program. Account holders are encouraged to submit written testimonies and documentation via email to MD529@treasurer.state.md.us, which is also the email address for general inquiries and comments.
Join Me at My Spring Fundraiser: Like the work I’m doing? Help support it by making a contribution and attending my Spring Fundraiser. I don’t accept money from for-profit corporations or their lobbyists and I’m not a millionaire who can self-finance my campaign. Most of my donations are from individuals. Hear about what I have accomplished and my future plans–while enjoying delicious food from local vendors!
Thursday, June 15th, from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Long Branch-Wayne Local Park 509 University Blvd East, Silver Spring, MD Special Guest: C.T. Wilson, Chair of the Economic Matters Committee
Stay in Touch Need help with a state issue? Please contact my office at email@example.com or leave us a message at (410)-841-3423.