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Montgomery Executive Leggett to appeal Pepco rate increase, surcharge

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D). (D.A. Peterson)

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) said Tuesday he would appeal a decision by the Maryland Public Service Commission to grant Pepco a $27.9 million rate increase and a new surcharge to bolster the electric grid, calling the proposed hikes “premature and unwise.”

The PSC approved the increase three weeks ago, giving Pepco less than half the $60.8 million boost it initially sought. The new rate will add roughly $2.41 per month to the average residential customer bill. The commission also gave clearance for a surcharge — starting at 6 cents per month in 2014 for the average homeowner and rising to as much as 27 cents per month in 2016 — to improve the reliability of the grid.

Leggett said he had asked the County Attorney to appeal the increases in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

“I believe that Pepco has made improvements in their communications, infrastructure, and emergency response systems since last summer’s ‘Derecho’ storm. However, just how improved these changes are have not yet been seriously tested,” said Leggett, who also called the grid surcharge “troubling” and a “terrible precedent.”

In response to Leggett’s statement, Pepco spokeswoman Myra Oppel said: “Maryland law provides the right of appeal from Public Service Commission decisions. As a party to the proceeding, Montgomery County may exercise its right to appeal the commission’s decision. Pepco will fully participate in the appellate process.”

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