State legislators say Pepco rate hike should be rejected -- Gazette.Net







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Twenty-nine state legislators from Montgomery and Prince George’s counties have written the Maryland Public Service Commission urging the regulatory panel to deny Pepco’s request for a 4 percent rate increase.

“If it was not obvious prior to the storm of June 29th it is abundantly clear now: Pepco must not receive a rate increase,” said the letter, dated Tuesday.

“Until Pepco accounts for its recurring failures of service, communication and management, and until it demonstrates that it is on the path to delivering service that its customers can rely upon in heat and cold, in good weather and bad, it would be unfair to the rate-payers to raise the price of the inadequate service we have received for too many years,” said the letter, which was signed by all eight Montgomery senators, three of five Prince George’s senators, 16 of 24 Montgomery delegates and two of 24 Prince George’s delegates in the 188-member Maryland General Assembly.

The five-member PSC was slated to rule on Pepco’s rate increase by Friday, but the utility asked the agency to extend the deadline until July 20, saying the utility needed to focus on the storm, which left hundreds of thousands of Pepco customers in Montgomery and Prince George’s, as well as customers of other utilities around the state, without power for days.

Some did not get their electric service restored for more than a week.

Comparisons have shown that the reliability of electric service delivered by Pepco ranks near the bottom among utilities nationally and that Pepco customers have lost service more often and for longer than customers of other Maryland utilities.

Pepco’s application for a rate increase was filed before the June 29 storm hit, and utilities have three weeks after power is restored to deliver reports on their storm performance to the commission.