WASHINGTON - Pepco is looking to raise customer rates in Maryland by about ten percent or about $15.80 per month on an average monthly bill. The move is setting off alarm bells for many customers who thought the recent merger with Exelon was supposed to save them money.
This is not a done deal yet, but Pepco said they have done a lot of work to warrant a rate increase and they are prepared to make that case. They filed the request Tuesday with the Maryland Public Service Commission, which will ultimately make the decision.
The utility company said it has made a massive investment to improve reliability and service.
"Nobody likes to pay more for their electric bill, but the reality is we have been investing hundreds of millions of dollars," said Jerry Pasternak, Pepco's region vice president for Maryland Affairs. "These dollars have proven to be effective over the last couple of years. Customers have seen a dramatic decrease in frequency and duration of outages."
Pepco workers have been working on the power lines while trimming trees away from them as well. Also, Pepco said new technology is allowing users to monitor their usage online so they can use less.
But customers are pointing to Pepco's recent merger with Exelon would provide better rates. But Pepco officials said the merger is saving customers money.
"The rate adjustment application has nothing to do with merger between Pepco and Exelon and would have been filed regardless of the merger," said Pasternak. "The merger actually provides customers with some funding in order to offset the impact of any rate increase."
Pepco said it has not asked customers for a rate increase since 2013.
A lot will have to happen before a decision is made, which is expected to be some time around November. There will be public hearings and testimony that will have to be held before the Maryland Public Service Commission.
In addition to Maryland, Pepco is expected to file a request to raise customer rates in Washington D.C. as well.