First State Update | by Staff Writer
Staff of the Delaware Public Service Commission and the Division of the Public Advocate executed a settlement Wednesday that will result in a rate reduction of almost $7 million for Delmarva Power customers.
This action will save the typical Delmarva electric customer approximately $80 a year. According to the settlement, instead of an initial proposed $65 per year (4.7%) increase, the customer will see a more than $15 annual decrease in their electric costs (-1.4%.).
The settlement resolves the pending rate increase request from Delmarva that initially included $31 million in distribution costs to be passed on to electric consumers. Earlier this year, the Public Service Commission approved a petition from the Public Advocate requesting a reduction in Delmarva rates as a result of savings realized by the company due to the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted last fall. The petition was bolstered by a collection of supportive public comments, including a letter signed by 38 Delaware state legislators led by representatives John Kowalko and Kimberly Williams.
“This is a big deal for our ratepayers. Simply put, this case went from an increase in rates to a decrease in rates thanks to the parties involved in these negotiations and the Commission’s support of our petition to ensure money from tax breaks flowed back to customers in the form of reduced rates,” said Public Advocate Drew Slater.
“Delmarva’s customers win big in this case and the settlement reflects an agreement among the parties that the reduction in federal tax rates are reflected in customers’ bills,” said Raj Barua, executive director of the Public Service Commission.
The settlement has been signed by Delmarva Power, Commission staff, the Public Advocate, and the Delaware Energy Users Group. Other parties included the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and Rep. Kowalko. The Hearing Examiner in this proceeding and the five-member Public Service Commission are responsible for ultimate approval of the settlement.
“We are pleased to have reached a settlement for electric delivery rates that, if approved by the Delaware Public Service Commission, will lower bills for our Delaware customers, said Delmarva Spokesman Jake Sneeden.
By passing along tax savings through this process, we are able to provide customers with a $6.85-million decrease on their electric bills, while also sustaining our important efforts to enhance the local energy grid and provide our customers with the safe, reliable and affordable service they have come to expect from Delmarva Power.