The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday approved a $24.9 million electric rate increase for Peco Energy Co., about a third of what the utility requested in March.
A bill for a residential customer using 700 kilowatt-hours per month would increase from $102.65 to $103.92, or 1.2 percent, on Jan. 1.
The Philadelphia utility, which serves 1.6 million electric customers in Southeastern Pennsylvania, had sought an $82 million increase that would have boosted residential rates by 3.2 percent.
The agreement also includes a pilot project to reduce the demand charges for public fast-charging stations for electric vehicles, a program that aligns with the PUC’s policy to stimulate the electric vehicle market. Under the 36-month pilot project, Peco will gather data to investigate future rates for fast charger systems.
Much of the increase in residential rates will come in the fixed monthly customer charge that all customers pay, regardless of how much energy they consume. Peco had asked for a $12.50 monthly fee, but settled for an increase in the charge from $8.45 to $10.00. Utilities generally are shifting more of the burden from per-kilowatt hour charges to fixed monthly fees, making them less dependent upon volume sales of electricity to cover their costs.
The rate settlement requires Peco to refund $68 million in savings from the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Residential customers will receive a one-time bill credit in January 2019. Refunds to larger commercial and industrial customers will be spread over a one-year period.
Peco last received a rate increase in 2015, which went into effect Jan. 1 2016.