Pepco Hearing Scheduled for Wednesday Night

How do you feel about spending $7.37 more a month for electricity? The Public Service Commission wants to know.

The PSC is holding a hearing Wednesday night to get citizen input on Pepco’s proposed rate increase, which amounts to a 5.5 percent monthly increase for a typical residential customer. Collectively, rate hike amounts to a $68.6 million increase

“This latest request for $68.6 million in additional ratepayer contributions is not justified. No way, no how,” Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner wrote in his testimony to the commission.

The hearing starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Third-Floor Hearing Room in the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville. The PSC is expected to rule on Pepco’s rate hike request in the fall.

The rate increase, Berliner claims, would give the utility a rate of return of 10.1 percent. A more reasonable return would be 8.75 percent or 9 percent, Berliner writes.

Pepco also is trying to recover costs of system improvements that have not yet been made and that the company failed to meet 2016 reliability commitments that were a condition of the approval of Pepco’s merger with Excelon, Berliner says.

“A deal is a deal. Pepco did not do what it pledged to do and what the PSC ordered it to do. It should face financial consequences for failing to honor its commitment,” Berliner said. “Instead, the company has requested extraordinary rate treatment, rate treatment contrary to fundamental ratemaking principles. Pepco is not entitled to extraordinary treatment. Far from it.”

Here is Berliner’s complete testimony.

Montgomery County Young Republicans Vice President Dan McHugh offered a different take on the rate hike, suggesting that the County Council use part of the money that the county collects through the energy tax as a tax credit for Pepco.

The credit could offset some of the rate increase, which McHugh surmised was due to revenue that the utility loses to solar panels, he said.

“Why not be bashed over the head once, not bashed over the head twice,” he said in an interview.

Here’s the full text of McHugh’s proposal:

In 2010 Montgomery County increased the tax on energy by 85%. A tax the County promised to sunset but the County went back on its word, This tax on energy is a County tax that Pepco does not see one penny from, it goes into the County’s general fund and is spent as needed. We have seen Montgomery County grant tax Credits to Marriott for them to build their new headquarters in Bethesda, why can’t Montgomery County grant Pepco some tax credits from the revenue on the energy tax, to help pay for the service improvements? If that does not happen you have the taxpayers paying an increase in their rates to Pepco and the already very high energy tax to the County. To us, this does not makes good fiscal sense. If the County has no desire to do this and offer some much-needed relief to the already overtaxed and over regulated tax payers. Then we ask Pepco to meet us in the middle perhaps and only increases the rates to 3.5% instead of the proposed 5.5%, or no rate increase at all. If neither the County nor Pepco is willing to do anything to help the taxpayers then we are looking at higher energy rates from Pepco and already high taxes from the County on energy, both sure to hurt working middle-class homeowners and small businesses throughout the county.

In addition, we raise the question to Pepco, Montgomery County back in 2015 partnered with Solar City to bring Solar Panels to Montgomery County. In addition, many homeowners in Montgomery County now have solar panels. So as an unintended consequence with less energy and electricity being used in Montgomery County, one would assume Pepco has seen a decrease in revenue due to that. If that is so, is a decrease in revenue part of the reason behind this proposed rate increase as well? Bottom line Montgomery County as a whole is using less energy and electricity from 10 years ago, however with this proposed rate increase and the high energy tax in still in place the Montgomery County Tax payers will once again be finding themselves paying more for less.

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Douglas Tallman

About Douglas Tallman

Reporter with 35 years experience throughout Maryland. Reach me at or via Twitter at @MCM-Doug


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