Potomac Edison Files Rate Case Designed to Enhance Reliability for its Maryland CustomersIncludes New Technology, System Redundancy and Enhanced Maintenance
WILLIAMSPORT, Md., Aug. 24, 2018 -- Potomac Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), today filed a comprehensive base rate case with the Public Service Commission of Maryland that contains new initiatives for the company to install more automated distribution equipment, replace additional aging underground electric cable, and trim trees more frequently to enhance service reliability for its 265,000 Maryland customers.
It is the first base rate case Potomac Edison has filed in Maryland in nearly 25 years.
Potomac Edison has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years to trim trees and complete projects designed to enhance service reliability, grid flexibility and modernization, and those efforts have benefitted customers. Potomac Edison's Maryland customers experienced about 23 percent fewer outages in 2017 than they did in 2011, and when they experienced outages, those service interruptions were about 14 percent shorter in duration.
Potomac Edison's new rate plan offers enhanced programs designed to build further on those improvements to service reliability, including:
- Moving to a four-year cycle from a five-year cycle to trim trees and instituting a special patrol to look for trees beyond right-of-way corridors that pose hazards to electric lines
- 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
- Replacing more than 1,000 miles of aging underground electrical cable prone to an increasing number of failures 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 on 68 distribution circuits
"Using good management and thoughtful planning over the years, we have enhanced service reliability for our customers while holding the line on rates," said James A. Sears, Jr., FirstEnergy's president of Maryland Operations. "We are committed to sustaining these efforts by offering new programs to trim trees more often and install smarter equipment on our lines and in our substations that can help continue to reduce the size, length and frequency of outages."
Potomac Edison has traditionally had the lowest rates of any investor-owned utility in Maryland. If approved, the new distribution rates would still be, on average, up to 60 percent lower than those charged today by other Maryland utilities. Additionally, customers will receive the benefit of the recent federal tax cut as over $7 million annually in tax savings will be used to offset the costs proposed in this plan.
If the plan is approved as proposed, monthly bills for the typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours would increase by about $6.00 per month or about 6 percent. The proposed changes would raise the typical residential bill from $105 to $111.
Potomac Edison would expect to have the new rates go into effect in the first quarter of 2019. These changes would not impact Potomac Edison customers in West Virginia.
To help customers manage their bills, Potomac Edison offers an average payment plan, special payment plans, and access to energy assistance programs. For more information, visit FirstEnergy's website at www.firstenergycorp.com and click on Our Electric Companies section to choose Potomac Edison, or call the Customer Contact Center at 1-800-686-0011.
Potomac Edison's Maryland customers can also visit www.energysavemd.com to learn more about energy-efficiency products and programs to help save money.
Potomac Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., serves about 265,000 customers in seven Maryland counties and about 140,000 customers in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. Follow Potomac Edison at www.potomacedison.com, on Twitter @PotomacEdison, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PotomacEdison.
FirstEnergy is dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company's transmission subsidiaries operate more than 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Visit FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com and follow on Twitter at @FirstEnergyCorp.
Editor's Note: Potomac Edison today filed a comprehensive base rate case with the Public Service Commission of Maryland that contains new initiatives for the company to install more automated distribution equipment, replace additional aging underground electric cable, and trim trees more frequently to enhance service reliability for its 265,000 Maryland customers. Photos showing similar work being done by Potomac Edison crews are available for download on Flickr.
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CONTACT: Todd Meyers, (724) 838-6650