Pepco Files Rate Increase Request

Pepco on Wednesday filed an expected rate increase request with the Maryland Public Services Commission that would mean an extra $4.80 to the average residential customer’s monthly electric bill.

WAMU’s Matt Bush and the Washington Post both reported on the request this afternoon.

The $43.3 million rate increase request comes on the heels of the PSC’s decision in July to approve a part of Pepco’s most recent rate increase request. That decision also included approval for Pepco’s controversial grid resiliency charge.

In its rate increase request filed today, Pepco says it has spent $238.5 million from October 2012 to September 2013 to upgrade infrastructure and this increase would cover those costs.

There will be a public hearing held in Montgomery County before the decision is made, set for July 2014.

Councilmember Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda) has been a frequent Pepco critic. He released the following statement:

Pepco today asked the Maryland Public Service Commission to approve recovery in rates of more than $43 million of expenditures.  Pepco is within its rights to seek such approval.  However, it is the responsibility of the Commission to scrutinize that request and ensure that only those expenditures that were prudently incurred and that are ‘used and useful’ are allowed to be passed through to ratepayers. In the most recent rate cases, the Commission has found that Pepco had sought recovery of expenditures that were not proper and reduced their requests by more than 50 percent.  I would fully expect our County to actively participate in this proceeding, as we have in the past in accordance with legislation that I sponsored, and work to ensure that Pepco does not pass on to ratepayers costs that are not proper.

Pepco is also seeking an increase in its return on equity. I continue to believe that Pepco’s financial returns should be based on its performance. While the number and duration of outages has improved since 2010 and their recent investments and actions have raised them from the lowest quartile nationally, in my view, its overall performance has not risen to the level that justifies an increase in its return on equity.  It is still a utility that is ranks in the bottom half of all utilities in terms of performance.  That is not good enough for the residents of Montgomery County and it should not be good enough for the Commission.

[Matt Bush WAMU] [Washington Post]

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