D.C. People's Counsel Brian Lederer yesterday asked the D.C. Public Commission to dismiss Potomac Electric Power Co.'s request for an 8 percent rate increase.
Pepco filed for the $29 million rate hike in September, four months after receiving a $35.5 million rate increase.
Lederer said in his 33-page request that the commission had no legititmate reason for granting the new increase because Pepco had just received a record rate hike and it reported record earnings for the first nine months of this year.
Lederer said Pepco "has failed to demonstrate any change in circumstances which would justify reconsideration of rates set by the commission" four months earlier.
Lederer called Pepco's request "unwarranted" and "unjustified" and noted that the utility's bond rating recently rose from A to AA. Lederer said "these strong affirmative facts conclusively demonstrate that there is no merit whatsoever to the rate application."
In addition, Lederer said that it would cost District taxpayers $1.5 million to litigate the rate case.
"The people's counsel recognizes that effective and fair utility regulation necessarily entails some public expense," Lederer said. "However, there can be no justification for imposing upon the people of the District of Columbia the unnecessary expense of conducting an unnecessary rate proceeding."
Pepco contended when it asked for the increase last month that the price of electricity rose much less than the general rate of inflation but that the company's cost control efforts couldn't offset entirely double-digit inflation. cPepco's request would add about $1.75 a month or $21.17 annually to the bill of an average residential customer.
In another area, Virginia Electric and Power Co. yesterday field rate schedules that will lower customer utility bills when the North Anna Power Station Unit Two begins commerical operation late next month.