Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) recently increased the charges for installing electric service lines to new homes and businesses to reflect the current costs for these services. The charges were approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission. A SMECO spokesman noted that this is the first rate increase for these services in over ten years.
The cost for installing a line extension is usually paid by the builder when the new service is installed. According to the SMECO Tariff document, "a standard service connection is one of 220 feet or less in which the nearest corner of the building is used as the service connection point and the service extension uses the shortest distance from the service connection point to the point where the electric service extension enters the property to be served." For single family homes, the standard service connection will now cost $1,342. The previous cost was $875. Extensions longer than 220 feet will now be charged $11.49 per foot for the entire length of the line. Connections which are not made to the nearest corner of the building are also charged $11.49 per foot for the additional distance.
Extension charges vary for new townhomes and multi-family structures. For structures with individual meter bases, the cost is $1,090 per unit. The previous cost was $750. For structures with dual-ganged meter bases the cost is $727 per unit. For structures with multiple ganged meter bases containing three or more meters, the cost is $382 per meter.
Applicants for underground service must furnish the necessary information, including property plats, easements, grading plans, load breakdown, and other items that show details of the proposed construction. For commercial or industrial service, the applicant must also supply drawings of the proposed conduit system or raceways within the facility, architectural drawings, and anticipated electric loads.
For underground systems installed in subdivisions or developments of multi-family structures, the developer or builder is responsible for the installation of all conduit that SMECO may require. The conduit is to be supplied by the builder and installed according to SMECOs specifications.
Any commercial or industrial customer who applies for a line extension must pay in advance for the single-phase or three-phase line constructed from the SMECO line to the applicants boundary. Commercial and industrial line extensions are subject to additional requirements and charges. Customers are encouraged to contact their local SMECO office as early as possible in the planning phase of new construction in order to make the new connection process as smooth as possible. For details on rates and specifications, see SMECOs tariff on the co-ops web site at http://www.smeco.coop/pdfs/tariff.pdf. More information about SMECO is available at http://www.smeco.coop/.
SMECO is a customer-owned electric cooperative providing electricity to over 139,000 services in southern Prince Georges County, and in Charles County, St. Marys County, and all but the northeast portion of Calvert County. Co-ops are distinctly different from investor-owned utilities because co-ops are owned by their customers, and these members vote for men and women who sit on the Board of Directors. As one of over 600 Touchstone Energy Co-ops, SMECO promotes values that are important to its customer-members: Accountability, Integrity, Innovation, and Commitment to Community.
Co-ops also issue capital credits to their members. What are capital credits? They are the members share of the co-ops margins, based on how much electricity the member purchased and the rate at which the account was billed. SMECOs marginsrevenue less expensesare used as working capital for new construction and system improvements. Each year, SMECO determines what percentage of the capital credits can be distributed to the members. Capital credits are then issued by check or credited to the members electric bill.