PSC rejects most of Pepco rate increase request

Associated Press Modified: July 20, 2012 at 6:15 pm •  Published: July 20, 2012
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland regulators on Friday rejected a large portion of the Potomac Electric Power Company's request for a 4 percent rate increase, citing the company's history of substandard performance.

The Maryland Public Service Commission rejected $50 million of the $68 million increase requested by the company. The $18.1 million increase approved by regulators amounts to a $2.02 rise in a typical residential monthly bill, the PSC said. The company's full request would have meant a $5.56 increase per month.

"Pepco's ill-advised decision to ignore their accountability and our direction to quantify in this case the extent of their increased reliability spending attributable to their historic system neglect makes us wonder if the company heard us," the PSC wrote in its order.

The commission said the $18.1 million rate increase was required to meet the legal and statutory mandates set by law to provide safe and reliable service.

The panel also reduced the allowed return to Pepco's shareholders to 9.31 percent. The previously allowed return was 9.83 percent. Pepco had requested a return rate of 10.75 percent.

"We recognize that Pepco is a regulated electric distribution company, but it seems backward to us to reward Pepco's shareholders, and impose increased financial burdens and risks on the company's legitimately aggrieved customers, before Pepco corrects its sub-par performance," the PSC said in its order.