For Immediate Release
Based on input today at the Delaware Public Service Commission, Delmarva Power officials announced today their Delaware customers will have additional time to decide how they want to pay higher electric rates driven by increases in the costs of fuels used to generate electricity.
NOTE: a previously sent news release announced a new deadline of May 26th, which was incorrect.
Delmarva Power CEO Tom Shaw said Delaware residential and small commercial customers will not face an April 28th deadline to decide whether they want to begin paying the new rates all at once or want to defer a portion of the increase until later.
Shaw said the company's Delaware customers may want more time given a recent decision by the company to not require customers who participate in the deferral plan to pay interest. "We recognize," he said, "that our decision not to require Delaware customers to pay interest on the deferral has created some confusion, and we want to give our customers the time they need to make the best decision for them."
Shaw said the company's earlier proposal to charge Delaware customers interest on the deferral plan was made at a time when the company was proposing to charge Delmarva
Power's Maryland customers interest on a similar plan. He said, "When the company agreed to forego interest payments from Maryland customers, we agreed to not charge Delaware customers' interest. We did that to avoid the appearance of unfairness and ensure that we're treating customers consistently."
Shaw said with the exception of not having to pay interest, the decision on the deferral plan remains the same. Customers must decide whether to pay an additional amount on top of their regular monthly payments after January 1, 2008 in order to pay back the amount they've temporarily put off paying before then.
Because of the confusion around interest payments, the company will send another round of letters to customers explaining their options. It will also run advertisements, seek media coverage, and make presentations to community groups. In the meantime, rates will increase May 1. As a result, customers who have opted-out of the phase-in program will pay the new full rates for the energy they use. For customers who have NOT opted out of the plan the new rates will be phased-in. For customers who decide beyond May 1st which plan works for them their bills will be adjusted accordingly.
Delaware customers can call 1-877-285-9316 or visit Delmarva Power's website at www.delmarva.com to indicate their decision on the deferral plan. If they take no action, they'll be in the deferral plan. Customers should have their account number available when they call or visit the company's web site to make their choice. Customers who have already indicated they want to pay the new rates in full and do not want to change their mind do not have to contact Delmarva Power again.
Delmarva Power, a public utility owned by Pepco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: POM), provides safe, reliable and affordable regulated electric and natural gas delivery services to more than 500,000 customers in Delaware, Maryland , and Virginia .