Power customers in Delaware could see higher energy bills this summer if the state approves a rate increase proposed this week by Delmarva Power.
In a filing with the Delaware Public Service Commission on Thursday, the power company that covers much of northern Delaware wants to increase its electric distribution rate by $72.3 million.
“As customers are struggling to pay bills, Delmarva Power is seeking one of the largest electric distribution rate increases we have ever seen,” Delaware Public Advocate Andrew Slater said in a written statement. “Simply put, reliability is extremely important but so, too, is affordability. No customer should have to choose between paying for their utility service or paying for other essential needs. It’s long past time costs are reined in just as many of their customers are trying to do.”
According to testimony submitted with the rate increase application, “a residential customer using an average of 844 kWh per month 19 would see a bill increase of $10.41 or 8.35%, from $124.73 to $135.14.”
As the name implies, the Delaware Public Advocate is a state government office with a mission to “advocate for the lowest reasonable rates” for Delaware electric customers, according to the office’s website.
Slater’s announcement of the proposed rate hike points out that the roughly 25% increase comes on the heels of a nearly 60% increase in the company’s natural gas supply rates in the past two years.
He says even though Delmarva’s reliability is in the top quarter of all U.S. utilities, the company aims to spend $430 million on upgrades in the next three years. Slater says that’s a 155% increase over the company’s spending on infrastructure in 2019.
Delmarva says the increase will offset millions the company has spent to repair damage from weather events like Tropical Storm Isaias and other storms over the past several years.
“The need for reliable energy service is more important than ever for our customers and we are laser focused on meeting customers’ needs while also maintaining reasonable rates,” said Doug Mokoid, Delmarva Power region president. “Our region has experienced higher costs for goods and services and ongoing climate-related impacts that make this request necessary to allow us to continue delivering the quality service our customers deserve.”
The increase would go into effect on July 15, 2023.
Get daily updates from WHYY News!