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Rockville Citizens Publicly Fighting Back Against Soaring Electric Costs In Maryland

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A hand-written sign aboutPepco hangs on a pole in a residential neighborhood in Silver Spring following the deadly Derecho storm in June.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A hand-written sign aboutPepco hangs on a pole in a residential neighborhood in Silver Spring following the deadly Derecho storm in June. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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ROCKVILLE, Md. (CBSDC) - Pepco is coming under fire for its constant pressure on local officials to approve rate increases for it’s Maryland customers, and those customers are beginning to focus on the group in charge of regulating the utility company.

In July, Pepco officials went before the Maryland Public Services Commission asking for $68 million in rate increases for its 500,000+ customers in the state, but the commission only signed off on $18 million.

Pepco cited their work during the Derecho storm recovery as being hard and efficient in restoring power to hundreds of thousands of Maryland residents left in the dark for days.

Local city governments have rebuked the idea that the Potomac Electric Power Company should have been granted any rate increases at all, and should have rejected the full $68 million request by the company, as opposed to just $50 million of it.

Tuesday evening at a public hearing in Rockville, former Rockville mayor Susan Hoffmann proposed that the Public Service Commission expand its membership to “more appropriately reflect the average electric consumer in Maryland.”

“Perhaps you are too close to the issue,” Hoffmann said. “Know too much in fact, and may have unwittingly become apologists for the very utilities you regulate.”

The approved increase by the Public Service Commission is expected to result in a $2.02 rise in a typical Maryland resident’s monthly bill.

The service commission however, has publicly admonished the electric company, saying in July when it approved the increases, “Pepco’s ill-advised decision to ignore their accountability and our direction to quantify in this case the extent of their increased reliability spending attributable to their historic system neglect makes us wonder if the company heard us.”

Another public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday evening in Rockville.

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