Enhancing Service Reliability for Maryland Customers

Plans to install more automated technology and accelerate the replacement of underground lines are expected to result in shorter and less frequent outages for Potomac Edison customers in Maryland.

March 28, 2019

Potomac Edison plans to install more automated substation and distribution equipment and accelerate the replacement of aging underground electric cable as a result of the Public Service Commission (PSC) of Maryland recently approving a portion of the company’s rate request.

The decision concludes Potomac Edison’s first base rate case in Maryland in 25 years. The PSC order increases Potomac Edison’s electric distribution rates in Maryland by $6.2 million annually, effective immediately.

“The commission’s ruling provides us many of the right tools to maintain our momentum to enhance service reliability for our 265,000 Maryland customers,” said Jim Sears, president, Maryland Operations.  “The work we intend to complete, which includes installing advanced equipment on our lines and in our substations, is expected to result in shorter and less frequent outages for our customers.”

The PSC order permits an Electric Distribution Investment Surcharge to allow for timely cost recovery of three innovative programs (for four years) designed to further enhance service reliability by:

  • Installing more distribution automation equipment that can automatically isolate problems, prevent entire circuit lockouts, and quickly restore electric service to the remainder of customers served by the line
  • Accelerating the replacement of miles of aging underground electrical cable prone to failure due to direct contact with the ground
  • Installing electronic substation reclosers that analyze real-time data and can be remotely controlled by system operators to minimize the number of customers impacted by service interruptions

A typical Potomac Edison customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours will see an increase of about $2 per month. Even with the rate increase, Potomac Edison will continue to offer the lowest rates of any investor-owned electric utility in Maryland.

As part of the order, Potomac Edison also will conduct a comprehensive depreciation study of its Maryland facilities and infrastructure and report the findings to the PSC within 18 months – which could lead to future rate adjustments. It also directs Potomac Edison to file a new base rate case in four years.