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Leggett Files Legal Appeal of Pepco Rate Increase

Montgomery County Executive: State regulator’s decision is 'premature and unwise.'

A Pepco crew works on a line on Sangamore Road in Bethesda. Photo Credit Erin Donaghue.
A Pepco crew works on a line on Sangamore Road in Bethesda. Photo Credit Erin Donaghue.
By Whitney Teal

The nearly $28 million rate hike that the Maryland Public Service Commission granted Pepco last week will see a legal challenge from Montgomery County.

County Executive Isiah Leggett said Tuesday that the county attorney will file an appeal in Montgomery County Circuit Court to block the rate increase.

The PSC granted Pepco $27.9 million of its $60.8 million increase request. The increase would increase the average monthly household electricity bill in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties about $2.41, The Washington Post reported. Customers would also be charged a 6-cent monthly “Grid Resiliency Charge”—an upfront payment to Pepco for fixing the worst power lines in the utility’s service region.

“I believe that Pepco has made improvements in their communications, infrastructure, and emergency response systems since last summer’s ‘Derecho’ storm,” Leggett (D) said in a statement. “However, just how improved these changes are have not yet been seriously tested. That’s why granting even less than half of the $60 million requested by Pepco is premature and unwise.”

Pepco is the first utility in the state to be allowed to charge for grid improvements before the work is done, The Gazette reported.

“The Public Service Commission’s decision to allow Pepco, for the first time, to charge customers a ‘Grid Resiliency Charge’ every month is troubling. Even if limited to certain costs just now, it is a terrible precedent,” Leggett said in the statement.

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