The Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce is forming a cooperative to help local businesses leverage their buying power to purchase electricity because Allegheny Power's rate caps come off Jan. 1, the Chamber's president said Tuesday.
"You're going to pay more for electricity in the future than you pay now, period," Chamber President Brien Poffenberger said.
The cooperative would help Chamber members manage the cost increase and make informed decisions about choosing a supplier, Poffenberger said.
Maryland deregulated electricity in 2000, but rate caps were in effect in recent years that allowed a competitive supplier market to develop, Maryland Public Service Commission Executive Director Gregory Carmean said.
According to the Public Service Commission's Web site, seven electricity suppliers are actively seeking customers in Allegheny's territory in Maryland.
Allegheny's residential rate caps come off Jan. 1, 2009, but rate caps for business and commercial customers come off Jan. 1, 2005, Allegheny spokesman Guy Fletcher said.