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Newark-based Delmarva Power is seeking a $44 million raise in energy rates for its Delaware customers to offset infrastructure maintenance costs. The plan includes a $31.2 million raise in electricity rates and a $12.8 million raise in natural gas rates. If allowed, the average home-owner in Delaware can expect a $9.42 increase in their monthly energy.
Delmarva Power, along with Constellation, is owned by Chicago-based Exelon Corporation. Delmarva Power serves energy to customers in Maryland and Delaware. They currently have over 500,000 energy customers across those two states. The company has stated that they are seeking the increase to offset the growing infrastructure maintenance and repair costs in Delaware's aging power grid. The company estimated over $50 million in repairs and maintenance were needed in 2016.
However, many Delaware residents are upset over the proposal as they feel the increase is too high. Delaware Public Advocate Drew Slater says that the majority of backlash is how much they are asking for. “No one said you shouldn’t have a rate increase, it’s just a matter of how much it should be,” Slater said.
While the debate continues this week, a decision won't be made until the spring of 2018. Utility rates in Delaware are based upon a process of where government and power company officials take months to try to convince the state utility board what price is “reasonable.” The utility board then have public meetings where residents are able to voice their side of the argument.
If the raise is passed, the average Delaware household will have a monthly electricity bill of $123. This is after a separate electricity rateincreasewent into effectearlierthisyear,giving Delmarva an extra$36.4 million in annual revenue, according to the Public Service Commission.