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BGE requests rate increase for electric and natural gas

Monday - 5/20/2013, 4:11am  ET

WASHINGTON - Baltimore Gas and Electric is the latest regional power company to file for a rate increase.

In the BGE's request to the Maryland Public Service Commission, it asked for an approximate 4 percent rate increase on electricity use. It estimates the increase would add $4.41 to a monthly bill for 880 kilowatt hours of usage.

It also asked for a 4 percent hike for natural gas use that it estimates would add $2.51 to a monthly bill for usage of 52 therms per month and BGE's default gas service.

"We understand that increases in our electricity and gas distribution base rates are never welcome, but the investments that we've made are already yielding tangible benefits for our customers in terms of fewer outages and quicker restoration when outages do occur," Kenneth W. DeFontes Jr., president and chief executive officer of BGE said in a statement.

BGE, which has 1.2 million customers in central Maryland, says some of the funds would go toward replacing utility poles, overhead lines and underground cable and tree trimming.

Pepco, with about 1.45 million customers in Maryland, also asked for another rate hike.

The increase would add nearly $7 to a monthly residential bill for its customers in Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

"Since we started our reliability work more than two years ago to upgrade and modernize our system, reliability has improved for our customers," says Thomas Graham, Pepco region president.

The company filed its request in March, and the PSC held hearings on the matter in April.

Earlier this month, Dominion Power added a 19-cent increase to its customers for its energy efficiency programs. It's awaiting State Corporation Commission approval for a $1.32 increase to pay for the building of its Brunswick County Power Station (83 cents) and transmission-related costs (49 cents). The increase would kick in Sept. 1, if given the go-ahead.

Regulators also have been asked to approve a fuel rate hike that Dominion says would increase the typical customer's 1,000-kilowatt-hour bill by $2.36 to $110.75.

The fuel rate pays for the fuels -- natural gas, coal, uranium and biomass -- Dominion buys to generate electricity for 2.3 million customers in Virginia. If approved, the hike would take effect July 1.

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