Assistant County Attorney Tasked with Utility Issues
In the wake of Pepco's most recent request for permission to raise electricity rates, the county tasked an assistant county attorney to focus solely on utility issues.
Montgomery County now has an in-house attorney dedicated to utility issues.
"[Lawyer] Lisa Brennan moved from the Office of Consumer Protection, where she dealt frequently with utility issues, to the Office of the County Attorney where utilities will now dominate her time," Montgomery County spokesman Patrick Lacefield told The Gazette.
So far, the county has hired outside attorneys as well as using in-house ones to fight against Pepco's rate increase requests. Dedicating one in-house attorney to utility issues, rather than paying for outside counsel, should save the county some money, The Gazette reported.
The county's move to consolidate its efforts to ensure that county residents are paying fair prices for quality utilities comes in the wake of Pepco's most recent request for permission from the Maryland Public Service Commission to raise electricity rates.
The most recent rate increase request totals about $60.8 million. If approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission, typical residential customers could pay $7.13 more a month in electricity bills, Patch reported last fall.
In July 2012, the commission approved $18 million of a $60 million rate increase request made by Pepco earlier in 2012, Patch reported.
The county sees the new in-house utilities attorney designation as a long-term position.
“We have concluded we are going to be in this for the long term, not just one or two rate cases,” Councilman Roger Berliner said, The Gazette reported.