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DC PSC Approves Pepco’s Undergrounding Plan for the District, New Rates in Effect

As a result of an emergency amendment passed by the Mayor on May 17, 2017, the DC Public Service Commission opened a new proceeding (FC 1145) to consider applications for Biennial Underground Infrastructure Improvement Projects. AOBA was an active participant in the last undergrounding cases, FC 1116 and 1121, and strongly opposed Pepco’s proposed undergrounding project plans.

On July 3, 2017, Pepco and DDOT filed a Joint Application for Approval of the First Biennial Underground Infrastructure Improvement Projects Plan. The Biennial Plan identified six feeders that DDOT and Pepco plan to place underground. The Application also requested approval of an Underground Project Charge (UPC) to recover the costs Pepco incurs during the undergrounding of the feeders. The Application states the UPC will remain in effect for two years and will collect $5,602,940 in total revenues.

In addition to the Joint Application filed by DDOT and Pepco, Pepco included an application for a Commission issued financing order that will allow Pepco to recover the costs DDOT will incur as a result of the undergrounding of the designated feeders specified in the Biennial Plan. The financing order will permit Pepco to recover the DDOT costs through an additional charge, i.e., an Underground Rider charge. The Underground Rider will also remain in effect for two years and is designed to collect $30 million per year.

AOBA held a briefing by Pepco on September 19, 2017 and filed a Protest and testimony on September 13, 2017.  The DC PSC approved the Pepco and DDOT application on November 7, 2017 and AOBA requested reconsideration of the decision, a prerequisite for filing an appeal with the DC Court of Appeals. On January 17, 2018, the DCPSC denied AOBA’s Application for Reconsideration. AOBA filed an appeal of the DC PSC’s decision with the DC Court of Appeals on March 14, 2018.

The Commission ordered rates to become effective 90 days from the date of its Final Order, i.e. February 8, 2018. The rates for the month of February were prorated and customers should be charged the full tariff rates beginning with the March billing cycle. The undergrounding charges are represented on the Pepco bill as follows: 1) the Underground Project Charge (UPC), is billed as a separate line item under the distribution charge and 2) the Underground Rider charge is combined with the distribution charges and monthly Bill Stabilization Adjustment (BSA) and is not separately itemized on the bill.