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Md. PSC orders hearing on outage charge

Thursday - 8/9/2012, 4:32pm  ET

BALTIMORE - Maryland's utility regulators say they will hold a hearing on whether power companies can charge customers for lost revenue during the first 24 hours following a major storm outage.

Maryland's Public Service Commission changed the surcharge earlier this year, limiting it to the first 24 hours following a storm. The PSC said the charge was instituted to ensure utilities would not be discouraged from participating in energy efficiency programs. However, the PSC said in its order that the surcharge didn't properly align financial incentives and reliability goals.

The commission said Thursday it will hold a hearing Sept. 24 on whether the surcharge should be allowed during the first 24 hours of an outage. Opponents of the surcharge have said it makes utility customers pay for a service they aren't getting.

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