The Maryland Public Service Commission is expected to rule next week on a proposed rate hike for Pepco customers, likely just days after the last customers' electricity is restored after the devastating June 29 storms that swept through the D.C. region.
PEPCO asked for the rate hike in December, around the same time it was fined $1 million by the commission for failing to upgrade its infrastructure, which lead to multiple week-long power outages following thunderstorms in the summer of 2010.
But PSC Chairman Douglas Nazarian isn't saying whether this most recent outage emergency will affect the board's decision on the rate hike.
"I can't talk about the upcoming rate case, other than to say that they asked for the rate increase in December," Nazarian said at a press conference Thursday. "That kicks in a whole separate analysis and statutory process that has deadlines that Mother Nature didn't consult on."
Montgomery County leaders have fought the proposed rate hike, saying PEPCO customers should not have to pay for the reliability upgrades the utility embarked upon following the lengthy outages of 2010.
The commission's investigation into Pepco and other utilities' responses to the latest storm wouldn't start until power is fully restored statewide.