Monopolies & the government regulators who serve them are always able to come up with such creative ways to fleece taxpayers.
Under a little-noticed decision by Maryland regulators, Pepco for years has been authorized to raise rates temporarily to recover money it loses when electricity use drops. The system was meant to encourage energy conservation.
But as an unintended consequence, customers could help make the company whole for outage-related losses next month by paying Pepco more than they would have otherwise. The higher rates would apply to all Maryland customers, including those who shivered in the dark for days.
“They are paying for delivery of electricity they did not receive,” said Eric Friedman, director of the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection.
I would say that it’s the law on unintended consequences at work, but we can see that there’s nothing unintended about it.
But in Maryland, the billing adjustment is colliding with a string of outages at Pepco in the past year. Some critics have said that the billing system has removed any incentive for Pepco to reduce outages or to rush to restore service once the lights go out. Either way, Pepco is guaranteed the same rate of return. …
A Washington Post investigation published in December found that Pepco’s day-to-day reliability began declining five years ago and that Pepco ranks at or near the bottom in national surveys of reliability. The average Pepco customer experienced 70 percent more outages than customers of other utilities in major metropolitan areas.
Hat tip to @DonIrvine.