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Md. approves BGE rate increase, surcharge

December 17, 2013 Baltimore No Comments

Customers of Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. will start profitable some-more for a smoothness of electricity and healthy gas after Maryland regulators authorized this year’s second rate boost Friday and also OK’d a monthly surcharge on electric bills over a protests of consumer advocates.

Maryland’s Public Service Commission some-more than halved a company’s ask for an boost in a rates paid to contend and urge a infrastructure. In commendatory a increase, a commissioners pronounced work stays to be finished in a arise of “extreme continue events” that caused widespread, slow outages.

Two of a 5 commissioners objected to a surcharge, that is a initial levied on BGE business for reliability-related work. But a other 3 called it necessary.

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“The need for thespian acceleration in a gait of infrastructure alleviation causes us to demeanour for new tools,” they wrote.

The aloft distribution rates — a assign for relocating appetite to business — will volume to an additional $2.13 a month on a normal residential electric check and an additional 73 cents on a normal residential gas bill. The boost takes outcome immediately.

The surcharge will start in Apr for electric customers. On normal residential bills, it will supplement 8 cents a month, augmenting annually until it hits 36 cents a month in a fifth and final year.

Paula M. Carmody, conduct of a Maryland Office of People’s Counsel, that represents residential application customers, remarkable that these come on a heels of rate increases in Feb and 3 years ago.

“This things is pancaking,” she said.

Though a latest sums are revoke than BGE officials asked for, Carmody said, “they did get a estimable amount.”

The people’s warn and AARP Maryland appealed a commission’s Jul preference to give a rate boost and surcharge to Pepco, a Washington-area utility. The interest is tentative before a Baltimore City Circuit Court. Both consumer groups pronounced Friday that they would need to examination a sequence before determining either to interest a BGE box as well.

BGE pronounced a some-more visit rate requests in a final few years simulate accelerated spending on infrastructure and tree-trimming to urge service.

Mark D. Case, BGE’s clamp boss of plan and regulatory affairs, pronounced a subsequent box will approaching come “within a subsequent year or so” as a application seeks remuneration for intelligent meters.

BGE has argued that a timing isn’t bad for rate increases since appetite costs — that make adult a incomparable partial of customers’ bills than placement charges — are falling. Case pronounced that apportionment of electric bills will dump 15 percent in June, a assets of about $12 a month for a standard residential customer.

“The commission’s positioned us to be means to make larger investments in trustworthiness so business will see usually improving service, and during a same time, they’re going to be means to suffer affordable appetite bills since … commodity prices are during such low levels,” he said.

BGE’s placement rate ask had been for $107 million over a initial year. The Public Service Commission’s staff suspicion that was distant too high and endorsed slicing that volume by 70 percent.

Ultimately, a elect systematic a $46 million boost — 57 percent reduction than a request— to be widespread opposite residential and business customers. The elect reduced a utility’s before rate ask by 35 percent.

Commissioners also reduced a volume of BGE’s due surcharge. BGE had due 34 cents a month for a standard residential patron in a initial year, rising to 75 cents by a fifth and final year.

The surcharge will compensate for what a application characterized as a some-more fast gait of “corrective maintenance” and tree-trimming to revoke outages. Its capitulation outlines a initial time a association will be means to collect income for projects before work is completed.

BGE pronounced a ask followed a state charge force’s recommendation for surcharges to strengthen a electric grid in a arise of final year’s mortal derecho windstorm.

But a people’s warn argued that BGE had not done a box to collect income for ongoing work when a state’s long-standing tradition is to repay afterward.

“BGE should not accept additional remuneration for simply assembly a trustworthiness standards already set by a Commission and that is all a Company has betrothed to do,” a agency’s attorneys wrote in a Nov filing.

BGE also wants to collect a monthly surcharge on gas customers, that it pronounced it would use to speed adult deputy of aged pipes, though that box is separate. A preference is approaching in January.

Commissioners Harold Williams and Lawrence Brenner dissented on a matter of a electric surcharge. They argued that it foul shifted risk from shareholders to customers, requiring remuneration before a improvements could advantage internal people — and before it’s famous either a work will indeed help.

Despite concerns about charge outages, they added, BGE’s surcharge work is directed during improving day-to-day use rather than bad-weather performance.

State Sen. James C. Rosapepe, a Democrat who represents tools of Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties, pronounced he concluded with a dissenters that a surcharge is a bad idea.

“This light deregulation of BGE now by this surcharge is a large step in a wrong direction,” he said. “That’s not to contend we don’t need to deposit … though this was not a approach to do it.”

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Article source: http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-bz-bge-rate-case-decision-20131213,0,835902.story

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