Montgomery wants a say in Pepco’s rate request -- Gazette.Net


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Montgomery County has asked to have its say in Pepco’s latest request for higher rates.

The county submitted on Dec. 27 a petition to intervene as a party in Pepco’s current rate case.

The investor-owned utility filed for a rate increase in November, just four months after the Maryland Public Service Commission denied the lion’s share of its last request.

Pepco is seeking to up its base distribution rate by $60.8 million, or about $7.13 per month for the average customer to help pay for $1 billion of reliability investments it plans to make over the next five years.

It also is asking for permission to bill customers an additional grid resiliency charge over a three-year period to expedite its tree trimming, feeder upgrades and feeder undergrounding — efforts the utility said are in response to recommendations by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Grid Resiliency Task Force.

The temporary charge would start at about 96 cents per month in 2014, if approved. It would increase to a monthly $1.70 in 2015 and $1.93 in 2016.

On top of the charges to customers, Pepco also is asking the PSC to increase the allowable return on equity it can provide to investors. Currently, investor returns are capped at 9.31 percent. Pepco has asked for 10.25 percent.

With its filing Thursday, the county has asked to weigh in on all three pieces of Pepco’s request.

According to the county’s petition, Montgomery was party to Pepco’s last attempt to increase its base, which it opposed.

The PSC rejected $50 million of that $68 million rate increase in July and decreased its allowed rate of return from 9.83 saying, “in denying three-fourths of Pepco’s rate request, the Commission considered instead its longer history of substandard performance, and, balancing that with the Company’s responsibility to invest in improving its infrastructure.”

kalexander@gazette.net