maryland.gifNo, I don’t mean that the home of crab cakes and Orioles is suddenly adopting Hollywood-style divorces — although the state’s unusual flag (pictured here) certainly suggest the state likes to be different.

Rather, the state is embracing the same smart electric utility regulations that has enabled California to be a leader in energy efficiency for three decades. As the Washington Post reports today:

In a bid to cut energy use, Maryland yesterday became just the fourth state in the nation to approve a plan that removes the incentive for electric utilities to sell more power in order to make more money.

In a rate case ruling issued yesterday, the Maryland Public Service Commission endorsed an approach known as decoupling, which ensures that utilities do not lose revenue if customers use less electricity.

Kudos to Maryland. "Decoupling" may seem like an arcane subject, but he is in fact one of the single most important climate solutions available — one that can achieve significant emissions savings while lowering people’s energy bills. The story goes on to explain how decoupling works:

Under decoupling plans, if customers cut energy use, the rate for distribution costs is increased in later months so that the utility can cover its fixed costs and maintain its wires, poles, substations and other infrastructure. Consumers would still save money on fuel costs, the largest component of their electric bills.

If energy usage increases, as it often does in unusually hot weather, then the distribution rate would be reduced so that the utility’s revenue would remain the same.

This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.