On Tuesday, July 25, the DC Public Service Commission (PSC) held the third community hearing to receive testimony about The District of Columbia Power Line Undergrounding Initiative (DC PLUG). The hearing, attended by more than 40 people, was held at St. John’s United Baptist Church, 6343 13th St NW. DC PLUG is the historic public-private partnership between the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Pepco to improve the District’s electric system resiliency. DC PLUG was initiated in response to severe weather events impacts on the electric distribution system.
DDOT and Pepco will underground approximately 30 of Pepco's poorest performing primary and lateral overhead power lines in Wards 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8 over the next 6 years Pepco will be responsible for all construction involving electrical engineering, and DDOT will be responsible for civil engineering construction.
In a statement before the community, OPC Trial Supervisor Travis L. Smith reinforced the need for undergrounding overhead feeders to improve system reliability and resilience and assured consumers OPC would keep residents updated as DC PLUG construction progresses.
Mr. Aaron Smith of Pepco and Mr. Ronald Williams of DDOT presented overviews of the undergrounding project’s scope and construction management plans. Morgan O’Donnell, Manager of Regulatory Analysis, at Pepco told consumers that their estimated share of the costs for the first two project years will be $0.14 for the Underground Project Charge and $1.05 for the Underground Electric Company Infrastructure Improvement Charge. Both charges are based on an average monthly consumption of 675 kWHs. Consumers who are eligible for the Residential Aid Discount (RAD) program will not be billed for DC PLUG costs. It is estimated that in the second year of the plan the Underground Project Charge will be .05 cents.
ANC 4A chairperson Karrye Braxton provided testimony. She encouraged DDOT, Pepco, and the PSC to include ratepayers in DC PLUG decisions, expressed concerns about timely construction notification for residents, the need for quality construction and repairs to the public and private property.