Delmarva Power seeks to recover money spent modernizing energy grid

Delaware News Desk
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

Delmarva Power is requesting the Delaware Public Service Commission update electric and natural gas delivery rates to reflect the costs associated with reliability improvements to the local energy grid, along with new technology the company has implemented to meet customer needs and growth in Delaware.

These efforts have resulted in record service reliability for customers and led to the company winning national residential and business customer satisfaction awards.

The requests seek to adjust the typical Delaware electric residential customer’s monthly bill by about $3.68 and the typical residential natural gas customer’s monthly winter bill by about $6.

“These proposed rate adjustments are critical to continuing our efforts to enhance electric reliability, modernize our natural gas delivery system and meet the expectations of our customers,” said Gary Stockbridge, Delmarva Power region president. “This work is improving our customers’ experience and resulting in award-winning customer satisfaction.”

Delmarva Power’s enhancements to the grid have resulted in electric customers experiencing the lowest frequency of electric outages ever in 2019, with electric outages decreasing by 36% when compared to five years ago. Key projects to strengthen and create additional capacity in the company’s natural gas delivery system have also been critical to meet growing demand for natural gas in northern Delaware and meeting customers’ needs, including record-breaking customer demand for natural gas in 2018.

Over the past two years, Delmarva Power has undertaken critical projects to modernize and strengthen the local energy grid in Delaware.

Key electric system modernization projects include:

— Energy Distribution Maintenance Projects: Work entails distribution line upgrades that deliver power to homes, underground line placements to protect infrastructure from extreme weather, installation of animal safety equipment and much more to ensure reliable service throughout Delmarva Power’s Delaware service area.

— System Technology Installations: The implementation of new technology along distribution lines that works in conjunction with substation automation technology to automatically restore service and reduce the duration of outages.

— Substation Technology Upgrades: Improvements made to substation technology that allows for automatic restoration when there is an outage.

Key natural gas system modernization projects include:

— New Castle Area Natural Gas Reliability Project: The installation of a new natural gas main in New Castle, providing additional capacity in the company’s natural gas delivery system, helping meet the energy needs of customers and growing demand for natural gas.

— Park Place Project: Completed in Newark, the project entails the installation of a new gas line to strengthen the system, improving reliability to meet high demand during some of the coldest temperatures over the past two years.

— Cast Iron Replacement Project: Ongoing safety and reliability project to replace aging natural gas infrastructure with more durable, plastic piping.

Reliability projects are also important to the local economy, as investments in energy infrastructure improve service for customers and drive economic development and job creation in the local economy. The company places considerable emphasis on hiring diverse, local businesses. Delmarva Power’s purchase of goods and services from diverse certified suppliers topped $73 million in 2019, which is 25% of the company’s total yearly purchases.

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