Saturday, November 18, 2006

Pepco delivers its rate case turkey

As reported in the Washington Post and in the blog, Talking Stuff, Pepco has finally filed its rate case with the Maryland Public Service Commission. Pepco seeks permission to increase rates on its regulated distribution services, citing increased labor and equipment costs. They had hinted as much in recent investor financial filings. Pepco sibling Delmarva Power simultaneously filed a similar rate case.

Pepco's filing at the MD PSC
Pepco's press release
Info on Pepco's web site about delivery service and costs
Frequently Asked Questions on Pepco's web site
The timing of Pepco's filing is clever from a PR and political standpoint. They filed during a rare window when the public and politicians are not paying attention.

The Friday before Thanksgiving is a great time of year to deliver bad news and minimize attention from a distracted public with family and travel plans on their mind.

Not only did they time it post-election, but this also happens to be a once-every-four-years lame duck window for state and county government. There was a large turnover in the state legislature, and county councils. We have a new County Executive in Montgomery. The governor's office has switched parties. Many officials and insiders are busy jockeying for positions in County and State government.

It remains to be seen how fast this case will move. The PSC plans their first meeting about the rate case on November 29th.

As judged by their campaign contributions, Pepco officials clearly favored Ehrlich in the governor's race. I wonder if O'Malley is hoping this one takes the fast track so that he can say that it didn't happen on his watch.


Update: The Examiner also covered the story:

"Though cost is an important factor, a reliable system is even more important," said Thomas H. Graham, president of Pepco Region, a unit of Pepco Holdings Inc."

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