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Stronger penalties added for unreliable utilities

ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Senate has added stronger penalties in a bill to increase the reliability of Maryland utilities.

Senators approved an amendment on Wednesday that would enable utilities that are not meeting reliability standards to be penalized in 2012, instead of 2014. Senators also passed a provision that increases a potential fine from $10,000 a day for each day they fail to meet standards to 2.5 percent of the utility’s gross revenue, which could add up to millions of dollars.

Sen. Brian Frosh, D-Montgomery, says the stronger measures are needed to give utilities a greater incentive to do a better job supplying reliable electricity.

The Senate could pass the bill this week.