On Dec. 15, Delmarva Power filed an application with the Public Service Commission to increase its electric distribution rates by $72.3 million. Pursuant to state law, the increase will become effective on a temporary basis on July 15, 2023, subject to refund, pending a final decision by the Public Service Commission.
Delmarva Power’s request for an increase in electric distribution rates comes on the heels of a $16.7 million increase approved by the Public Service Commission on Aug. 5, 2021.
If the increase is approved as requested, Delmarva Power residential and residential electric space heating customers will experience an additional increase of 8.35 percent and 13.2 percent, respectively, in their electric distribution charges. A typical residential non-space heating customer using 844 kWh per month would see an additional increase of $10.41 per month to their total bill, and a residential space heating customer would see an additional increase of more than $11 per month to their total bill.
“As customers are struggling to pay bills, Delmarva Power is seeking one of the largest electric distribution rate increases we have ever seen,” said Delaware Public Advocate Andrew Slater. “Simply put, reliability is extremely important but so, too, is affordability. No customer should have to choose between paying for their utility service or paying for other essential needs. It’s long past time costs are reined in, just as many of their customers are trying to do.”
The requested distribution rate increase of roughly 25 percent follows a nearly 60 percent increase in natural gas supply rates over the past two years.
Delmarva Power’s reliability is in the first quartile of all U.S. utilities for reliability. Even so, Delmarva Power intends to spend $430 million on plant costs over the next three years. That represents an increase of 155 percent over Delmarva’s 2019 plant spending.
The Public Service Commission will hold a public comment session once a procedural schedule is established. Written comments may be sent by mail to Delaware Public Service Commission, Docket No. 22-0897, 861 Silver Lake Boulevard, Suite 100, Dover, DE 19904, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, Attn: Docket No. 22-0897.
Delawareans can contact Energize Delaware about its Home Performance with Energy Star, and Home Energy Counseling and Check-Up programs. The programs could potentially produce energy savings. Consumers may learn more at: https://www.energizedelaware.org/.
Additional programs, such as weatherization and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) may be able to help customers save on energy costs. Customers can review eligibility requirements for both programs by calling (302) 504-6111 for the Weatherization Assistance Program and by calling Catholic Charities for LIHEAP assistance at (302) 856-6310 for Sussex County.
The role of the Delaware Public Advocate is to advocate for the lowest reasonable rates for residential and small commercial utility consumers, consistent with a fair distribution of rates and maintaining reliable utility service. To learn more about the Division of the Public Advocate, visit https://publicadvocate.delaware.gov/.