Wednesday, July 25, 2007

PSC trims Pepco’s rate request to 0.56 percent

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Pepco customers will be paying a bit more for their electricity — 0.56 percent more, to be exact — after the Maryland Public Service Commission approved the modest increase last week.

The company had sought a 3.9 percent rate hike, which would have translated into $55.7 million in new revenue for Pepco. The PSC approved only $10.7 million more for the company, according to a commission statement.

Although Pepco got only a fraction of the rate increase it sought, the PSC made two other rulings Friday that benefit the company.

In one, the five-member commission ‘‘decoupled” distribution charges from the rest of a consumer’s bill. This way, electricity companies can recoup charges for maintaining lines and utility poles, without losing money if customers conserve.

‘‘It’s a winner for the customer and the company and the environment,” said Bob Dobkin, a Pepco spokesman.

Pepco has nearly 300,000 customers in Montgomery County and 217,000 in Prince George’s County. The utility also has about 238,000 in Washington.

The PSC also changed depreciation rules that benefit the company, Dobkin said.

Besides Pepco, the PSC also reduced Delmarva Power’s increase request from 3.4 percent, or $20.3 million, to 2.15 percent, or $14.9 million.

Both Pepco and Delmarva are owned by Pepco Holdings Inc.