SMECO Files with PSC for Postponement Of Per Foot Line Extension Charge

Today, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) filed with the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) to postpone until July 1, 2006, the per foot line extension charge that was approved to go into effect in February. SMECO is asking for this postponement to help ease the transition to the new line extension charges. If the PSC approves SMECO’s request, the flat rate of $1,342 will apply to all residential service installations, with the per foot rate for extensions over 220 feet going into effect July 1. Previously, the PSC had approved the rate for line extensions up to 220 feet at a flat rate of $1,342, with extensions longer than 220 feet charged at the rate of $11.49 per foot for the entire length of the line. These charges only apply to line extensions on the consumer’s property.

Extensions for townhomes and multi-family structures were also revised, but will remain at the newly approved rate: individual meter bases--$1,090 per unit; dual-ganged meter bases--$727 per unit; and multiple-ganged meter bases containing three or more meters--$382 per meter. Commercial and industrial line extensions are based on a number of variables, and the cost is estimated on a case-by-case basis independent of residential installation charges.

SMECO had not changed its rates for line extensions in 11 years. The new rates reflect industry standards and transfer the actual costs of installation to those customers applying for line extensions. SMECO does not mark-up these costs and makes no profit from line extensions.

The cost for installing a line extension is usually paid by the builder when the new service is installed. Line extensions exceeding 220 feet account for less than 10 percent of SMECO’s new service installations per year; more than 90 percent of line extensions fall within 220 feet. In 2005, the average line extension for single-family homes was 117 feet.

Applicants for underground service must still furnish the necessary information and paperwork to SMECO prior to work being performed. 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 SMECO’s tariff on the Co-op’s Web site at

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SMECO is a customer-owned electric cooperative providing electricity to over 139,000 services in southern Prince George’s County, and in Charles County, St. Mary’s County, and all but the northeast portion of Calvert County. Co-ops are distinctly different from investor-owned utilities because their customers’ own co-ops, and these members vote for men and women who sit on the Board of Directors.

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