Delmarva Power has filed requests with the Delaware Public Service Commission for approval to recover $24.4 million in electric investments and $12.9 million in natural gas spending.
Based on these requests, a typical electric residential customer’s total monthly bill would increase by $4.38, or 3.7 percent. A typical gas residential customer’s total monthly bill would increase by $3.75, or 9.9 percent.
The rate case is expected to be closely scrutinized. Delaware was recently ranked as having the sixth highest electricity costs and 26th highest natural gas costs. Gas and electric rate hikes have been partially offset by lower natural gas and wholesale electricity costs.
Under the final settlement agreement for the Pepco Holdings-Exelon merger, Delmarva Power agreed to reduce capital expenditures for its local electric system by more $71 million from 2015 through 2019. The PSC cited diminishing returns for money spent to improve reliability.
Delmarva Power spent $50.8 million in 2016 to modernize equipment, address system reliability concerns and meet energy policy guidelines.
For the gas system, Delmarva invested $31.7 million in 2016 for equipment upgrades, enhancing operational performance and safety and installing new gas mains and service lines to bring natural gas service to new customers who previously did not have access to natural gas.
“We’re balancing our responsibility to manage costs for our customers with our obligation to maintain safe and reliable electric and gas systems,” said Gary Stockbridge, Delmarva Power region president. “Being a part of Exelon enables us to operate more efficiently and stretch our dollars and resources, which in turn helps us hold down rates lower than they would be otherwise while still maintaining our system reliability.”
During the past five years, Delmarva Power has invested $371 million in Delaware for projects to modernize the local electric distribution system. Since 2012, Delmarva Power customers in Delaware have seen 14 percent fewer outages and a 31 percent reduction in the duration of outages.
.Delmarva Power and the Pepco Holdings service company employ about 1,115 employees in the state as well as hundreds of additional contract crews and services from other businesses around the state.
“Our customers expect us to keep the lights on and the gas flowing, and these investments are helping us meet those expectations while also supporting our local economy,” Stockbridge said. “We know any increase can be impactful, and we work hard to educate customers on how they can manage their utility costs by using less energy and by helping them find programs and funding to help with bill payments.”