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Delmarva Power moves forward on 2017 rate hike request

Sarah Mueller
Former Deputy Attorney General Regina Iorii argues for PSC staff's motion to dismiss.

The Public Service Commission is allowing Delmarva Power to move forward with the rate hike request it submitted in August. Delmarva hiked its nearly $25 million August rate increase proposal by nearly $7 million in October.

For customers that translates to another $1 added to the $4.38 increase to the average monthly electric bill Delmarva was initially seeking.

PSC staff members, Public Advocate Drew Slater and State Rep. John Kowalko (D-Newark South) objected to the rate hike proposal last month after the utility increased its initial August ask by nearly $7 million.

Slater said the company should have submitted a new request, but he’s glad ratepayers will have more time to learn more about the proposal.

“This is a good step," he said. "While it’s not ideal, it’s not exactly what we wanted, it does help protect some ratepayers and I appreciate the commission's willingness to listen to us.”

Commissioners declined to dismiss the adjusted plan. But they are requiring a new public comment period and keeping the interim rates consistent with this summer’s application.

PSC Executive Director Bob Howatt said he hopes the situation is a one-time fluke that doesn’t happen again.

“We do have some concerns about a potential precedent that make have been set," he said. "That other utilities could now come in and offer a 30 percent increase in and we’d have to deal with that in a scheduling arrangement.”

Delmarva said it made an honest mistake in its application. But PSC staff says the error was so big, the company should have had to start from scratch. .

In a statement, Delmarva said its improvements benefited its customers.

"We remain focused on providing safe, reliable, and affordable energy to all our customers and look forward to concluding this process in the coming year.”

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