DOVER – The Staff of the Delaware Public Service Commission (“Commission Staff”) and the Division of the Public Advocate (“Public Advocate”) announce a $3.5 million overall rate reduction for consumers in New Castle County due to the settlement of the Delmarva Power gas rate case.
The original request from Delmarva Power asked for an increase of $12.8 million as filed in August of 2017. Due to the Commission’s approval of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) petition, there were significant adjustments to the requested increase leading to an overall rate reduction.
Earlier this year, the Public Service Commission approved a similar reduction for electric customers, which resulted in a $6.85 million decrease. These settlements are the result of extensive negotiations between Commission Staff, the Public Advocate, and Delmarva Power and reflects a mutual balancing of various issues and positions. It should also be noted that Representative Kowalko and Chesapeake Utilities were interveners in this case.
In this current proceeding, instead of a proposed $45 per year (9.9%) increase to the typical Delmarva Power gas customer, they will see more than a $50 annual decrease in their utility rate (-4.6%). This means a monthly bill decrease of roughly $4.36 for an average Delmarva Power gas customer who uses 83 CCF per month during the winter months. Customers also will see a variety of one-time and ongoing credits and refunds on their natural gas bill that reflect the tax savings, as well as other agreements from the settlement. New rates will go into effect by December 8, 2018. While the settlement has been signed by Commission Staff, the Public Advocate, and Delmarva Power, ultimately the five-member Public Service Commission approved the settlement at its November 8, 2018 meeting. Coupled with the Delmarva Power electric rate reduction, for those Delmarva customers with both services this is an overall reduction of more than $65 per year.
“For the second time in recent months, we have been able to achieve another rate reduction from Delmarva Power. In this case, for Delmarva Power’s gas customers. We believe, as in the electric case, this is the first time there has been an overall rate reduction through a rate case. This was achieved thanks to the great work of the parties involved, particularly our coordination with PSC Staff, and the Commission’s support of our petition to ensure all excess taxes flow back to customers in the form of reduced rates.” said Public Advocate Drew Slater.
“We appreciate the Commissioner’s leadership on this issue and we are ecstatic that these lower gas rates come just in time for the winter heating season.” said Raj Barua, PSC’s Executive Director.
The Delaware Public Service Commission (“PSC”) works to ensure safe, reliable and reasonably priced electric, natural gas, wastewater, and water services for Delaware customers. The PSC is made up of five part-time Commissioners, appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. The Commissioners are supported and assisted by a staff of full-time state employees.
The Division of the Public Advocate advocates for the lowest reasonable rates, principally on behalf of residential and small commercial consumers, consistent with the maintenance of adequate utility service and consistent with an equitable distribution of rates among all classes of consumers.