Dr. Rajnish Barua named Executive Director of the Delaware PSC

DOVER – Dr. Rajnish (Raj) Barua has been selected to serve as the new executive director of the Delaware Public Service Commission (PSC), filling the position to be vacated by Robert Howatt this month. Dr. Barua will begin his tenure as executive director on June 1.

“Raj brings an amazing depth and breadth of regulatory policy experience to the DEPSC. In addition to management experience, he has taught energy policy at the University of Delaware, served on the operating committee of NERC, and has extensively trained energy regulators internationally,” said PSC Chairman, Dallas Winslow.

Dr. Barua, a resident of Newark, has nearly three decades of experience in regulatory policy, restructuring of the electric industry, regional energy markets, and other related matters. Most recently he served as executive director of the National Regulatory Research Institute. Prior to that he was executive director of the Organization of PJM States Inc., energy advisor to the chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, director of the Integrated Resource Planning Division of the Maryland Public Service Commission, a regulatory policy administrator with the Delaware Public Service Commission, and deputy principal assistant to the Delaware Division of the Public Advocate. Dr. Barua holds a PhD from the University of Delaware, specializing in energy policy.

Mr. Howatt retires from the executive director post after fifteen years with the PSC, serving in a variety of roles. While serving as director, he led several important initiatives involving the PSC staff, including the $6.8 billion Exelon-Pepco Holdings Inc. merger proceeding, which was a significant win for Delaware utility ratepayers.

“I’d like to commend Bob Howatt for a job well done serving the people of Delaware and working to ensure fairness and predictability in our utility market,” said Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock. “I also welcome Dr. Raj Barua back to service with the PSC. I know we will benefit greatly from his wealth of experience in our regional energy sector.”

The Delaware Public Service Commission works to ensure safe, reliable and reasonably priced electric, natural gas, water and wastewater services. The Commission also has limited regulatory authority over telephone and cable television rates and services.

The executive director is responsible for the planning, management and overall operation of the Delaware Public Service Commission and ensuring just and reasonable regulation of Delaware’s public utility service companies.

MEDIA CONTACT: Samantha Hemphill, PSC Ombudsman,  302-505-2741

 


Commission Approves Public Advocate’s Petition to Reduce Utility Rates in Light of Federal Tax Cuts

DOVER – The Delaware Public Service Commission yesterday approved a petition from the state’s Public Advocate to ensure that consumers will receive the benefits of any savings realized by regulated Delaware utilities under the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

The order directs each regulated utility to estimate the impact of the new tax scheme on the utility’s cost of service, and to propose procedures for reducing rates to reflect those impacts on or before March 31, 2018.

“This is about making sure Delaware consumers get a fair deal from their utility providers, and I’m pleased that the Public Service Commission has acted in support of that goal,” said Gov. John Carney. “I want to thank our Public Advocate for fulfilling his duty to the ratepayers, and the PSC for adopting this order.”

Delmarva Power, which recently filed applications for both electric and natural gas rate increases, agreed with the Public Advocate that the Tax Act should reduce the level of federal income taxes included in its rates. Delmarva will adjust its proposed increases in both of its pending rate cases.

“Today was a win for ratepayers. We want to thank the Commission for its decision, the members of the public who submitted comments, and the bi-partisan group of Delaware legislators who wrote in support of our petition,” said Public Advocate Drew Slater. “With this order, we look forward to ensuring that Delaware ratepayers benefit from this corporate tax reduction in the form of lower rates for utility services statewide.”

“This is a wonderful example of a great Public Advocate doing his duty in a truly effective manner,” said state Rep. John Kowalko, D-Newark. “So much praise also goes to the 36 legislators who signed on in support. It shows how important it is to ensure that ratepayers are treated fairly when corporations are given a windfall.”

All rate classes of all regulated utilities will likely see reduced rates, with procedural schedules to be set for hearings before the Commission. In approving this petition, Delaware joins several states that have instructed utilities to ensure that ratepayers receive the full benefit of federal tax cuts realized by utilities.

 

The Division of the Public Advocate advocates for the lowest reasonable rates, principally on behalf of residential and small commercial consumers, consistent with the maintenance of adequate utility service and consistent with an equitable distribution of rates among all classes of consumers.


Governor Carney, Governor Hogan Urge FERC to Expedite Review of Artificial Island Cost Allocation

As currently funded, $278 million project would unfairly burden electric ratepayers on Delmarva

WILMINGTON, Del. – Delaware Governor John Carney and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan on Tuesday sent a letter to members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, urging commissioners to expedite their review of the $278 million Artificial Island transmission line project and consider a financing model that does not unfairly burden electric ratepayers on the Delmarva Peninsula.

Governors Carney and Hogan urged FERC to consider alternative cost methodologies presented in June by PJM’s Board of Managers. Under PJM’s alternative methods for cost allocation, Delmarva ratepayers would fund approximately 7-10 percent of the project costs.

As currently financed, residential and commercial electric ratepayers on Delmarva would fund more than 90 percent of the cost of the project through higher electric bills, while receiving few of the project’s direct benefits. Governors Carney and Hogan previously appealed the cost allocation to FERC, and urged PJM to support a more equitable solution for ratepayers on Delmarva.

“We remain optimistic that FERC will consider a financing plan for this project that will not unfairly burden businesses and families on the Delmarva Peninsula,” said Governor Carney. “As we’ve said all along, as currently financed, this is a bad deal for Delaware ratepayers, who would be asked to finance this project, while receiving few direct benefits. Thank you to FERC commissioners for considering our request to expedite their review. And thank you to Governor Hogan for his continued partnership and leadership on this issue.”

“Our administration has expressed our repeated opposition to any proposal that unfairly and inequitably allocates the costs associated with this project,” said Governor Hogan. “Maryland will continue to stand with Delaware to protect our citizens from disproportionately paying hundreds millions of dollars in rate increases, and we will continue to work with all stakeholders to reach a speedy, reasonable, and equitable solution to this process.”

 

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Related news:
Governor Carney and Governor Hogan React to PJM’s Alternative Financing Methods for Artificial Island Project
Governor John Carney and Governor Larry Hogan Respond to PJM Reevaluation of Artificial Island Cost Allocation
Governor Carney and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan Continue Fight Against Artificial Island Cost Allocation, Unfair Rate Hikes
Governor Carney’s Statement on Artificial Island Project Recommendations


Governor John Carney and Governor Larry Hogan Respond to PJM Reevaluation of Artificial Island Cost Allocation

WILMINGTON, Del. – On Thursday, PJM’s Board of Managers agreed to provide additional data and analysis that could lead to a new cost allocation for the $279 million Artificial Island transmission line project.

The decision comes a week after Governor John Carney and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan urged PJM in a letter to assist Delaware and Maryland in opposing the current cost allocation. As currently funded, Delmarva Peninsula ratepayers would fund 90 percent of the cost of the project through higher electric bills, while receiving few direct benefits.

“Under the current cost allocation, this project is a bad deal for Delawareans and Delaware businesses,” said Governor Carney. “We are hopeful that new data and analysis from PJM will help lead to a fair cost allocation – one that doesn’t ask ratepayers on Delmarva to pay higher electric bills, without receiving much in return.”

“Without action from federal regulators, Maryland residents and businesses still stand to pay an unfair share of the costs. With that in mind, we welcome any action on PJM’s part to address our serious concerns,” said Governor Hogan. “This is a step in the right direction, but we will continue to advocate for fair and equitable division of costs among ratepayers.”

Delaware and Maryland have appealed the current cost allocation to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Governor Carney and Governor Hogan urged PJM to support the rehearing in their letter.

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Related news:

Governor Carney and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan Continue Fight Against Artificial Island Cost Allocation, Unfair Rate Hikes
Governor Carney’s Statement on Artificial Island Project Recommendations


Governor Carney and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan Continue Fight Against Artificial Island Cost Allocation, Unfair Rate Hikes

Maryland, Delaware Governors Call on PJM to Support Request for FERC Rehearing

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor Carney on Thursday released a joint letter with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to the Chair of PJM Interconnection’s Board of Managers, opposing the cost allocation of the $279 million Artificial Island transmission line project, which would continue to unfairly burden electric ratepayers in Delaware and across the Delmarva Peninsula.

Delmarva homeowners and businesses would see their electric bills rise to cover 90 percent of the cost of the project, while receiving little in the way of a direct benefit.

“This is a bad deal for electric ratepayers in Delaware and across Delmarva,” said Governor Carney. “I’m proud to stand with Governor Hogan to oppose the current cost allocation for this project, which would unfairly raise costs for businesses and families in Delaware and across our region. We will continue to work with the Public Service Commission, Delaware’s Public Advocate, members of the General Assembly and our congressional delegation to protect Delmarva ratepayers.”

“Since the beginning of this process, our administration has expressed our opposition, frustration, and disappointment about the burdensome costs associated with this project,” said Governor Hogan. “Delmarva Peninsula taxpayers should not have to disproportionately pay hundreds of millions of dollars in rate increases, especially given the majority of the benefits will go to other states.”

Delaware and Maryland have appealed the current cost allocation to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Governor Carney and Governor Hogan urged PJM to support a rehearing in their letter. According to the most recent cost estimates, Delmarva ratepayers would still pay approximately $250 million of the $279 million in the project’s total costs, while receiving little direct benefit.

“As a result, the average residential and commercial customer will pay significantly higher rates,” Governor Carney and Governor Hogan wrote in their letter. “For many families this simply will be unaffordable and for many businesses it could mean closures and job losses. This economic burden to Delmarva is unacceptable.”

Delaware’s Public Service Commission and Public Advocate also have urged the PJM Board to support a rehearing on the cost allocation.

For additional details:

Governor Carney and Governor Hogan’s Letter
Delaware Public Service Commission Letter to PJM Board
Delaware Public Advocate Letter

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