Duquesne Light files settlement petition seeking approval to increase distribution rates in Pennsylvania

Duquesne Light Company (DLC) on Sept. 14 said that it filed with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission a settlement petition seeking approval to increase distribution rates beginning Dec. 29, as well as to provide a refund to customers from federal tax savings as a result of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Under the proposed settlement, an average residential customer using 600 kWh a month would see his or her total bill increase by about $4.36, or 4.44%, per month. DLC added that commercial customers could expect to see an increase of $19.46, or 1.98%, per month, while industrial customers could expect to see an increase of $364.77, or 1.95%, per month.

The company said that the additional revenue would enable it to continue to invest in distribution infrastructure and deploy technology needed to deliver reliable, safe, and affordable service, as well as support continued growth in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Noting that it would refund $24m in federal tax savings to customers related to the reduction in the federal tax rate that occurred in December 2017, DLC said that a typical residential customer would receive a one-time bill credit of about $25 in January 2019.

As noted in the joint petition, the “joint petitioners” are DLC, the commission’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement, the Office of Consumer Advocate, the Office of Small Business Advocate, the Coalition for Affordable Utility Service and Energy Efficiency in Pennsylvania, Duquesne Industrial Intervenors, Community Action Association of Pennsylvania, Wal-Mart Stores East, LP and Sam’s East, Inc., ChargePoint, Inc., the Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance, NRG Energy Center Pittsburgh LLC, Clean Air Council, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The joint petition noted that the settlement provides for increases in rates that are designed to produce a net increase in annual base distribution operating revenues of $92.7m, which includes $52.2m of revenues currently recovered from customers in surcharges, resulting in an increase of $40.5m, based upon data for a fully projected future test year (FPFTY) ending Dec. 31, 2019, as adjusted for ratemaking purposes, to become effective for service rendered on and after Dec. 29, 2018.

The joint petition also said that DLC in March filed with the commission “Supplement No. 174 to Tariff Electric – Pa. P.U.C. No. 24,” in which the company proposed a general increase in distribution base rates designed to produce about $133.8m in additional annual base rate operating revenues based upon data for a FPFTY ending Dec. 31, 2019, including $52.2m currently being recovered in surcharges, for a net increase in revenues of $81.6m.

In its statement, DLC noted that the settlement also allows it to help customers meet their evolving energy needs through the company’s “EV ChargeUp Pilot,” which will advance transportation electrification in the region.

As noted in the filing, the pilot was developed in response to market trends indicating a significant transition towards electricity as a transportation fuel; the need for the company to evaluate, understand, and mitigate unexpected grid impacts due to transportation electrification; customer support needs related to associated information; and prior commission guidance to explore policy and regulatory frameworks that support electric vehicles (EVs) and their required infrastructure.

Among other things, the joint petition noted that the EV Pilot is resolved on such terms and conditions that DLC’s “Level 2 charging proposal will be limited to the company’s investment in make ready infrastructure to provide electric service to charging stations owned by other parties with at least four charging stations available to the public. The company’s total investment in these facilities under the pilot will be limited to” 1.3m.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3235 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.