Consumers may continue to see higher energy bills
Many Delaware residents saw an increase in their utility bills on December 1st, - and now, another rate hike could be in their future.
Delmarva Power is expected to request a rate increase for natural gas in January - but first, it needs Public Service Commission approval.
Delaware’s Public Advocate Drew Slater, who represents rate payers, is already intervening in the case.
"We want the lowest reasonable rate but also make
sure there’s adequate maintenance of utility service as well,” he said. “There are several factors that we look at in a rate case. One of the things about a rate case is that all the books are open so you have the ability to look at everything.”
The public also gets a chance to weigh in during the review process which is expected to take several months.
Municipal energy rates are also on the rise. The Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation is passing along its increased costs to customers after the new year. The City of Milford, for example, says the average impact for customers will be about three percent. Utility companies attribute the increases to a global rise in the cost of natural gas.
But there is assistance available. Catholic Charities administers the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP. Over the last six months, the organization processed and funded more than 7,500 applications for assistance, slightly more than last year. The organization will continue to take applications through March 2022.
Slater also urges consumers to increase the energy efficiency of their homes. He cites Energize Delaware, which provides grants to organizations that sponsor energy efficiency programs for consumers.