The Delaware Division of the Public Advocate and the Delaware Public Service Commission believe that more than 5,000 businesses may have been overcharged for electricity.
Both are urging medium and large businesses that get their electricity from Delmarva Power to contact the utility and ask if they qualify for lower billing rates.
The advisory comes after an investigation conducted by the Public Advocate and staff of the Public Service Commission (PSC), indicated that more than 5,000 commercial customers of Delmarva Power may be paying higher rates for electricity than their usage warrants.
“Delmarva Power’s commercial customers who qualify for a lower rate are entitled to that rate. Until there is a long-term solution in place, it is extremely important that customers contact Delmarva Power to find out if they are eligible,” said Public Advocate Drew Slater.
The Public Advocate and PSC staff are working with Delmarva on a plan to resolve this issue. However, at this time, it is recommended that all commercial customers receiving Medium General Service (MGS) or Large General Service (LGS) from Delmarva Power call the utility at 1-800-375-7117 and seek a rate review.
Jake Sneeden, regional communications manager for Delmarva Power, said the utility has been following the tariff from the Public Service Commission and detected the issue while reviewing its rates.
Under the rate rule, it is up to the customer to seek a different classification if electric usage goes up or down, a common practice among utilities, Sneeden says.
Sneeden confirmed that Delmarva is working with the PSC and Public Advocate on a more customer-friendly solution. Customers who believe they are not in the correct rate classification should call the utility for a rate review.
Simply switching over customers is not yet feasible since the changeover is a manual process. In some cases, a new electric meter has to be installed.
“This issue came to light a few months ago and has the potential to impact businesses of all sizes throughout Delaware. We look forward to working collaboratively with Delmarva Power to resolve this issue as soon as practicably possible,” stated Matt Hartigan, deputy director of the PSC.
The issue was first identified in a formal complaint to the PSC filed by a Sussex County business owner last year. The PSC ruled in favor of the customer in December.
The ruling generated news coverage from the Associated Press and additional customer complaints were received by the Public Advocate and PSC staff in recent months, the release stated.
Upon further investigation, the Public Advocate and PSC staff learned more than 35 percent of Delmarva’s MGS and LGS customers may be eligible for lower rates.
It is estimated that the above commercial customers may be entitled to hundreds of dollars in savings on their electric bills each month.
Businesses in Delaware have long complained about high electricity rates, with the blame often placed on mandates for use of alternative energy sources and the Bloom Energy surcharge.