Ocean City Today

Electric rate hike session seeks public input

Delmarva Power asks for $27 million increase to cover distribution costs
By Brian Gilliland | Nov 30, 2017

(Dec. 1, 2017) The public will have a chance to comment on a proposed rate increase being sought by Delmarva Power, when the state’s Public Service Commission opens a regional hearing on the company’s request in Salisbury next Thursday.

The company contends in its petition to the commission that it must raise its rates in this and other counties in its Maryland service area to recover costs of providing service to residents and to earn a fair return for its investors. The company filed its application for an increase in July.

Part of that rate hearing process is soliciting public comments on the proposed changes, and the most convenient venue for customers in this area is Salisbury. The session will take place in the university’s Teacher Education and Technology Center’s Conway Hall, room 153, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

“In order to continue to meet its obligation to provide safe and adequate service, Delmarva Power must continuously replace and enhance the distribution system infrastructure. The costs in this case cover investments since the last base rate case, and planned spending on reliability in 2017,” the company wrote in its 726-page application.

In 2016, the company reported it spent $68.1 million on reliability upgrades to its distribution network, and planned to spend $73.2 million this year.

Under the public utility article in Maryland code, Delmarva Power is entitled to a reasonable return on the fair value of the company’s property devoted to electric delivery. Based on a test year ending in September 2017, the company is seeking a little more than $27 million and a rate of return on equity of 10.1 percent. According to its application, the company is currently earning 6.18 percent through the current rate structure.

“The impact of the requested rate increase on the typical Standard Offer Service customer using 980 kilowatt-hours per month is $2.78 per month. This equates to a 1.9 percent increase in total electric rates,” the company’s application reads.

Annually, this cost works out to about $34 per year for residents of Worcester, Wicomico, Somerset, Talbot, Queen Anne’s, Kent, Harford, Dorchester, Cecil and Caroline county Delmarva Power customers. The utility serves 204,000 customers in the area overall.

Written comments may also be filed by Jan. 3, 2018. Comments should be addressed to David J. Collins, Executive Secretary, Maryland Public Service Commission, William Donald Schaefer Tower, 6 St. Paul Street, 16th floor, Baltimore, Maryland 21202, and reference case number 9455.

The utility was also directed by the public service commission to include notice of the meeting with its customers’ most recent bill, and on social media platforms.

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