Skip Navigation
State's Attorney's Office

Energy and Environmental Advocacy

  1. To Which Types of Property Does the Utility Bill Disclosure Law Apply?
  2. What Does the Utility Bill Disclosure Law Require of the Seller?
  3. How Often Must Seller Update the Utility Disclosure Information?
  4. What Does the Current Law Not Require?
  5. Where can I get Disclosure Forms and Energy-Efficiency Information?
  6. Who do I contact if my utility bill is higher than expected?
  7. Where do I find information on incentives available for home energy-efficiency and renewable energy projects?
  8. Where do I find information on choosing a new electricity or gas supplier?

1.  To Which Types of Property Does the Utility Bill Disclosure Law Apply? 

The law applies to owner-occupied single family homes and condominiums that are individually metered by electrical or natural gas utilities.


2.  What Does the Utility Bill Disclosure Law Require of the Seller?

A. Before signing a contract for a home:

The SELLER must provide the buyer with information, approved by the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, to assist home buyers in making energy-conservation decisions.  This information includes:

The benefits of home energy audits,  such as information on the Maryland Home Performance program

Energy-efficiency improvements (e.g., insulation, home sealing, heating and cooling, lighting energy-efficiency, and financing options)

B. The SELLER must provide copies of applicable electrical, gas, and/or home heating oil bills, or a cost and usage history for the 12 months immediately prior to the sale of the single-family home.  If the home was occupied for less than 12 months prior to the sale, the seller must provide the buyer with the required information for any part of the 12 months, if any, that the home was occupied.

Back to Top


3.  How Often Must Seller Update the Utility Disclosure Information?

It is recommended that the seller compile the information at the time the property is listed for sale.  The information then may only be updated every 6 months that the home is on the market


4.  What Does the Current Law Not Require?

  • DOES NOT require an energy audit before the sale
  • DOES NOT require an energy audit as part of the home inspection
  • DOES NOT apply to the initial sale of a new home

Back to Top


5.  Where can I get Disclosure Forms and Energy-Efficiency Information?

The Department of Environmental Protection worked with the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors (GCAAR) to develop a form for sellers to record and disclose energy cost and history information in a uniform and easy to read format.  You can obtain this form by contacting GCAAR.  Alternatively, a seller may provide the buyer with a 12 month usage history (see Utility Company contact information).  DEP and GCAAR also developed a webpage listing key information on energy audits, energy-efficiency information, financing and other information to help prospective homeowners understand what opportunities are available. 

Back to Top


6.  Who do I contact if my utility bill is higher than expected?

The Public Service Commission (PSC), the agency that regulates utilities, has a brochure on their website specifically regarding unusually high utility bills.  The PSC advises that "[i]f you don't understand your bill, please call your utility or consult its web site first – they have helpful information on how to read and interpret it."  We have contact information for each utility company on our Resources page.

There is also information on the PSC's website advising "if you think your bill is wrong and you want to dispute it, you must first contact your utility or supplier to try to resolve the problem before calling the PSC." The company is required by law to investigate your inquiry and provide you with an oral or written response.  You should keep a record of the names, telephone numbers, and dates of all conversations you have with the company's representatives.  If you are unable to resolve your dispute, it may be helpful for you to speak with a utility supervisor.  If you still disagree after speaking with the company, you may submit your dispute in writing to the PSC within 7 days of receiving the utility's final answer (through mail or online) or call the PSC Office of External Relations at 410-767-8028."

Back to Top


7.  Where do I find information on incentives available for home energy-efficiency and renewable energy projects? 

Visit the Department of Environmental Protection's  web page, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Incentives, for more information.

Back to Top


8.  Where do I find information on choosing a new electricity or gas supplier? 

The Maryland Office of the People's Counsel has information about choosing an electricity or gas supplier on their website at http://www.opc.state.md.us/ConsumerCorner/RetailSuppliers.aspx including a guide "Contracting for Electricity and Natural Gas Supply" (http://www.opc.state.md.us/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=8CUS-ysv3TU%3d&tabid=71).  All gas and electricity suppliers must be licensed by the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) (http://webapp.psc.state.md.us/Intranet/home.cfm).

 

Back to Top