BALTIMORE (AP) — The utility that serves the Washington suburbs has asked Maryland regulators for a rate increase that would add about $7 to the average monthly bill of residential customers.

Pepco filed its request Friday with the Maryland Public Service Commission. It also asked to impose a surcharge of about $1 a month starting in 2014.

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Pepco says in a statement that it’s been working on upgrades for more than two years. Regional president Tom Graham says as a result, customers are experiencing fewer outages and they’re not lasting as long.

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The utility was heavily criticized for its response to a fast-moving storm this summer. But it was praised for getting the lights back on quickly after Superstorm Sandy, which didn’t hit the Washington area as hard as areas to the north.

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