Public Service Commission

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OCEAN CITY, Md. (AP) - Developers of two planned wind farms off Maryland's coast now plan to build turbines more than 200 feet (61 meters) taller than initially proposed.

The revised plans are prompting another round of public review the projects, which received state approval in 2017.

Maryland's Public Service Commission issued an order last month reopening the case for public comment. Those comments are due by Friday.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A state panel formed to study the potential environmental and economic development benefits to Delaware from offshore wind energy development is getting down to work.

A key issue for the group, meeting for the first time on Friday, is the costs and benefits for electric utility customers in Delaware.

The working group is chaired by Bruce Burcat, a former Public Service Commission official who currently serves as executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition.

Don Rush

The electric bills in Delaware could shoot up again.

Delmarva Power has filed a request with the state Public Service Commission to hike rates to a total of $63 million.

The company says that for the Christiana-area residents their bills could go up another $10 for an average of $151 a month.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that they could go up again by another $13 a month for the transmission line to connect the Artificial Island Nuclear Power Plant in New Jersey with Delaware.

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Governor Larry Hogan is facing some sharp criticism from environmentalists over his latest appointment to the Public Service Commission and concern that he is backing way from the state's commitment to renewable energy. Maryland News Connection Reporter Veronica Carter prepared this report.

Governor's Office

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Larry Hogan's appointee to the Public Service Commission has run into tough questions by a panel of senators considering his nomination.

Michael Richard, a former deputy chief of staff to the Republican governor, appeared before the panel Monday.

Democrats questioned Richard's independence as a member of an agency that regulates utilities. That's because of emails obtained by an advocacy group that Richard sent to Hogan administration officials about issues before the PSC.

BGE

BALTIMORE (AP) - Maryland's Public Service Commission has ordered BGE to cut in half its monthly fee to customers who opt out of having smart meters installed in their homes or small businesses.

The monthly opt out rate will be reduced to $5.50, from $11, beginning in January, the commission said Tuesday in a news release.

The PSC said it held a hearing earlier this month because about 4 percent of BGE's customers in central Maryland are choosing not to have smart meters installed. The commission said a 1 percent opt-out rate was expected when it set the fees in 2014.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - The Supreme Court agreed to hear a case involving a Maryland dispute over whether a state can offer ratepayer subsidies to build a power plant on its borders.
 
The court announced Monday it will hear two cases involving a deal by the state Public Service Commission to construct the plant.
 

Don Rush

In the wake of the deaths of a family of 8 earlier Princess Anne last month Somerset County resident and former NAACP leader Kirkland Hall says it’s time to change the way utilities turnoff power.

He wants them to be required to get in touch with law enforcement before cutting off power when it is found that a resident has been using a stolen or illegal meter.

The Todd family died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a portable heater after their power was shut off by Delmarva Power.

Don Rush

Delaware’s Public Service Commission says Delmarva Power should roll back some its plans for reliability investments.

The power company has said it was planning to spend $397 million over the five years to upgrade its infrastructure.

But the Wilmington News Journal reports that the PSC staff believes this could be achieved with a lower investment.

In May of last year the Commission began an investigation into whether Delmarva Power’s plans fit the needs of its customers.  

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state House is poised to vote on a bill requiring members of Delaware's Public Service Commission to file financial disclosure statements for public review.

The bill slated for a House vote Thursday was approved unanimously by the Senate last May.

The legislation would add the commissioners to a long list of other state officials who must file financial disclosure statements, including lawmakers, judges and cabinet officials.

Sussex County Counci Website

The Sussex County Council wants a greater say in the myriad of individual sewer systems spread out across the county.

The Council voted unanimously early last month to tell that Public Service Commission that it wants all of the unincorporated land in Sussex County to be considered a service territory that would be eligible for a county-run wastewater service.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that Sussex County officials were disturbed by a wastewater utility’s claim of sewer-service rights for several scattered properties.

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LEWES, Del. (AP) — Delaware's Public Service Commission is accepting public comment on a rate hike request by Artesian Wastewater Management.

The commission's meeting Monday night in Lewes involves Artesian's request to increase the flat charge for residential wastewater service from $75 per month to $98 per month. Artesian wants permission to collect an additional $342,608 in annual wastewater revenues.

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A small credit of $3.42 in interest should show on the energy bills of Delmarva Power customers.

It comes from an estimated $2.8 million difference between rates that were charged by the company and rates that were actually approved in the second half of last year.  

The Public Service Commission approved a rate increase of $22 million while Delmarva Power had requested an increase of $24.8 million.

 

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate and the House of Delegates have approved measures allowing natural gas companies to seek a surcharge of up to $2 on monthly gas bills to help recover costs for replacing aging infrastructure.

The Senate voted 35-12 on Thursday for the bill. The House vote was 120-17.

delmarva.com

Natural gas customers of Delmarva Power will see their rates go up.

The utility says it is hiking its rates on average monthly bill from $141 to $143 on an interim basis while the Public Service Commission reviews a rate hike request of $12 million or around 6 percent.

The temporary rates began on Tuesday.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware's renewable energy task force is recommending that the state's Sustainable Energy Utility be involved in an upcoming procurement process for solar renewable energy credits.

The task force voted Wednesday to recommend the SEU's involvement in the 2013-2014 procurement process, despite concerns about ongoing annual administrative costs of about $200,000 for the SEU and its contractor under a 2012 pilot program.

 

BALTIMORE (AP) - The Maryland Public Service Commission says utility customers can defer installation of so-called smart meters until the panel issues a permanent order on whether customers can opt out of the meters entirely.

The commission's order is effective immediately and affects customers of Baltimore Gas & Electric, Potomac Electric Power Company and Delmarva Power.