Within days of regarding reliability of BGE service in parts of Howard County, the utility company announced it has filed for a rate increase.
BGE released a statement Friday night that the “typical total residential electric bill is expected to increase by $7.22 per month” and the “typical residential total gas bill is expected to increase by $4.62 per month.”
According to the statement, BGE plans to invest $3 billion in capital over the next five years in infrastructure maintenance and upgrades.
“We realize that any increase in our electricity and gas distribution rates can be a burden for our customers, particularly given today’s difficult economic times,” BGE CEO Kenneth W. DeFontes Jr. said in the statement.
“The adjustments we have requested position BGE to continue to make essential upgrades, with an emphasis on modernizing our infrastructure for enhanced reliability and safety,” he added.
Tuesday’s hearing was in response to a complaint filed with the Public Service Commission (PSC) by Cathy Eshmont, a Dunloggin resident who has spearheaded a Facebook group called Reliability4HoCo in attempt to fix what she and residents of nearby neighborhoods say has been unreliable service by BGE.
"There is no understandable rationale for this rate hike," Eshmont said in an email Friday evening.
"BGE receives big bucks each year in upkeep fees from every customer in every monthly bill; those fees are to be used to do the kinds of upgrades and modernization that BGE describes in their request."
In its statement, BGE said the rate increase was requested in order to make “essential upgrades, with an emphasis on modernizing our infrastructure for enhanced reliability and safety," and noted it has increased tree and vegetation management by $11.5 million between 2007 and 2012, "and the company expects this increased level of spending to continue," the statement reads.
The PSC has also scheduled additional hearings across the state to hear from residents about their experiences with the utilities during the powerful storm that to hundreds of thousands of residents.
"I am surprised with BGE's outsized chutzpah," Eshmont said. "Despite the derecho hearings not having yet happened when we all admire how poorly BGE performed—here they are asking for a rate increase."
Last week, requested by Pepco which would raise the typical customer's monthly bill by $2.02.
Read more about BGE, Pepco and the PSC: