Delmarva Power rate hike approved
BALTIMORE — The Maryland Public Service Commission has approved a Delmarva Power rate hike, affecting 203,000 customers on the Eastern Shore, including Queen Anne’s County.
Effective immediately, the rate hike will mean the average residential customer will see an increase of $10.84 more a month or a 7.36 percent hike, according to the Public Service Commission.
The average residential customer is considered to use about 1,000 kilowatt hours a month.
When rendering its decision, the commission cut Delmarva’s request for additional revenue through the hike by about half. Delmarva’s original proposal would have resulted in an increase to the average residential monthly bill by $21.42.
In its announcement on Feb. 15, the regulatory agency said it “acknowledges the burdens that increased rates place on ratepayers, particularly low-income customers and senior citizens.”
The commission said it strived to limit the rate impact while noting that, this coming April, residential customers will receive a $50 credit in that month’s bill, which Delmarva committed to as part of the merger of Pepco Holdings Inc. and Exelon Corp., which included Delmarva Power.
Last year, the agency approved rates for standard offer service — the electric supply portion of customers’ bills — that will reduce rates for Delmarva’s residential customers by an av- erage of $123 a year beginning this June.
As for the rate hike just approved, the affect on businesses and local governments is unclear.
“We do not have a comparable bill impact figure for commercial and industrial customers since their usage varies so widely, but nearly all customer classes will see an increase,” said commission spokesman Lori Leonard.
“The revenue requirement is not allocated evenly across the customer classes, so the increase would not be the same for each,” she said.
Besides the increase in the distribution rates, the fixed residential customer charge was approved to increase by 23 cents a month.
In a statement, the commission took the view that it “has denied a substantial portion of Delmarva Power & Light Company’s request to increase its electric distribution rates by $66 million, granting instead a revenue increase of $38.3 million — modifying the chief public utility law judge’s proposed order in the case, issued on Januar y 4.”
The chief judge’s proposed order, granting the company a $38.2 million increase, was appealed by the company and the Maryland Office of People’s Counsel and was later affirmed in part and reversed in part by the commission, said the statement.
The company had also requested to increase the fixed residential customer charge to $12 per month (from the current $7.94). The commission’s order, however, reversed the decision of the Chief Judge (which would have authorized an increase to $9.43 per month) and instead authorizes Delmarva to increase its residential customer charge to $8.17 (or just under 3 percent).
About 65 percent of Delmarva’s request included recovery of cost related to reliability expenditures and capital investments in smart meters.
The commission affirmed the chief judge’s finding that Delmarva’s smart phone system is cost-beneficial, but the commission’s order directs the company to continue to develop ways to increase the types and amounts of such benefits that customers can receive in the future.
Delmarva also sought approval for the hike to expand its grid resiliency program by more than $9 million over two years.
Details of the commission’s order can be found at the organization’s website of psc.state.md.us. If using the search engine, the order number is 88033, case number 9424.