Weekend Storm Qualifies Pepco To, Again, Ask Disconnected Customers To Pay Without Labeling The Fees

9:51 PM, Sep 11, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - Maryland regulators say Pepco is charging for disconnected customers without labeling the bills and that this weekend's storm again qualifies the utility to ask blacked out consumers to pay up for power services they didn't get.

"The storms of this past weekend qualified as a major storm for Pepco," said Maryland Public Service Commission spokeswoman Regina Davis. "The Bill Stabilization Adjustment (BSA) adjusts distribution rates to allow the companies to recover the same revenue every month."

Although officials identified only Pepco as qualifying to charge the BSA because of the weekend outage, both Pepco and BGE qualified during the derecho.

Maryland officials estimate, that combined, they'll be billing customers over a million dollars for losses for that storm alone.

All BSA fees must be approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission and the derecho fee is still pending approval.

Pepco had claimed it separates and labels the charge, which experts predict will average less than a dollar per customer.

"Pepco will reflect the adjustment in the BSA calculation in the September & October bills and it always appears as a line item," Pepco spokesman Bob Hainey claimed on July 13th.

Pepco maintained that position until Monday when Maryland regulators responded to a 9 Wants to Know inquiry.

"I have been informed by staff that the bills we have from Pepco do not indicate a separate line item for the BSA," said Davis with the state regulatory agency.

In a response, Pepco, for the first time, acknowledged it does not identify the charge on customer bills.

"I do need clarify that the BSA does not appear on our customers' bill as a separate line item," said Pepco's Hainey a few hours after 9 Wants to Know forwarded the Maryland Public Service Commission to the utility.

Pepco officials declined to respond to other 9 Wants to Know inquiries.

Shortly after 9 Wants to Know exposed the BSA fees, the Public Service Commission scheduled a hearing, scheduled for September 24th, to consider revoking the outage fee billings.

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