Potomac Edison gets OK to increase surcharge

December 08, 1992|By Staff Report

The Maryland Public Service Commission has approved a request from Potomac Edison Co. to increase an anti-pollution surcharge on customers' bills by $2.2 million.

The higher rate applies to electric service provided on and after Dec. 3. Residential customers will see bills rise about 46 cents a month, the utility said.

The surcharge reflects the cost of complying with the Clean Air Act of 1990, specifically financing construction of equipment intended to reduce by 90 percent the sulfur dioxide emissions from the company's Harrison power station near Shinnston, W. Va.

Potomac Edison has more than 9,000 customers in Carroll County in an area from Mount Airy to Taneytown. Mount Airy customers have organized to oppose rate increases for Potomac Edison, citing frequent power outages and what they called poor service.

In January 1992, the PSC approved the use of the surcharge to recover financing costs and authorized Potomac Edison to review the expenditures every six months. On June 4, the company began collecting $1.7 million annually in environmental equipment financing costs through the surcharge. Residential customers using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month saw an increase in their bills of 34 cents a month.

Work on the environmental controls at the Harrison power plant, including installation of a flue gas desulfurization "scrubber" system, is 30 percent complete. The scrubbers are intended to cleanse emissions from the coal-fired generating station to meet standards of the Clean Air Act amendments.

Potomac Edison officials said the company would spend $250 million in five years on scrubbers at the power station. Nearly $66 million has been spent to date, with an estimated $93 million earmarked for the project in 1991.

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