Pepco, BGE Seek to Raise Rates

The Washington Post reports that on Friday, Pepco filed a rate request with the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC).  Over the summer, The PSC rejected the bulk of Pepco’s last rate increase request.  This time, in addition to its rate increase, Pepco is submitting a fee for “grid resiliency,” based on the recommendation of the Maryland Grid Resiliency Task Force.

Pepco, the regional utility company that has come under fire in recent years for reliability problems, on Friday filed a $60.8 million rate request in Maryland that, if approved, would raise the average monthly bill of residential customers by $7.13, or about 5 percent.

In addition to the rate request, the utility is asking the Maryland Public Service Commission to allow it to impose what it calls a “grid resiliency charge” in future years. In 2014, that surcharge would cost the typical residential customer in Maryland about $1 a month. It would grow to $1.70 a month in 2015 and almost $2 by 2016.

Meanwhile, as reported in the Baltimore Sun, the PSC holds hearings this week to consider BGE’s request for an increase in its distribution charge.

BGE is asking for increases that would come to about $6.62 a month for the typical residential electric customer and about $4.26 a month for the typical residential gas customer. Adding in business customers, the rate request would raise $175 million in the first 12 months. . .

In the past five years, the commission has approved rate increases every time a utility asked, but always significantly below the requested amount.  In BGE’s last rate case 21/2 years ago, the commission approved increases that were one-third less than the utility had requested from electric customers and two-thirds less from gas customers. For homeowners and renters, that worked out to a typical monthly increase of $1.34 for electric service and 85 cents for natural gas.

BGE says it needs another increase now to maintain and upgrade its distribution system — replacing aging poles, underground cable, gas mains and other equipment. Costs have risen by a third for wooden poles and have more than doubled for electric wire and cable over the past decade, BGE says.

Local and private sector response to power outages during emergencies will be one of the topics of this year’s MACo conference, featuring speakers from local emergency management and private industry.  Registration is now open for the January 2-4, 2013 conference.

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