The OPC CONNECTION - August, 2016

A Note from Your People's Counsel

Image: Sandra Mattavous-Frye People's Counsel

PDF available for Download

We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future. That's a quote from Great Speeches by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. At OPC, we are working with youth to build a better utility future for them. I am pleased to announce that OPC has launched energy efficiency workshops for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade District students. This summer program takes place at the FBR Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Greater Washington at THEARC in Ward 8.

Staff from OPC's Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Section lead fun-filled, interactive sessions to teach children basic energy efficiency information that they are encouraged to share with family and friends. Coloring and activity books such as, "Be Wise with Watt the Energy Saving Owl," are a part of the lessons. OPC will continue these sessions during the school year and visit additional Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the District of Columbia. This exciting activity spreads the energy efficiency message among younger residents, helping them to cultivate sound habits that they can even pass along to their parents and others in their households. I hope these lessons will make a lasting impact on our young people so that they can contribute to building a more energy efficient and sustainable city, nation and world.

 

In a continuing effort to increase outreach to the community, OPC is proud to announce the production of new informational palm cards and other materials. The updated handouts (pictured below) will be easier to distribute at large events and include updated social media contact information. In addition to the new palm card, OPC is currently working to produce new collapsible shopping bags and refrigerator magnets. Be sure to get your brand new materials at an OPC event in YOUR neighborhood!

OPC Is Utility Lawyer OPC Works For You

Image: Pay Your Bill in PersonIn the District of Columbia, there are several options consumers can use to pay their monthly utility bills. If you prefer to pay your bills in person, most utilities have both official locations and authorized retailers. Verizon only has authorized locations. Many authorized retailers include check cashing stores, payday lenders, and corner stores. These locations most likely charge a fee for bill payment services, and may take several days to post payments to consumer accounts. Below, please find a list of official payment locations for Pepco, Verizon, and Washington Gas. You may also find authorized payment locations that may charge a fee on each company's website.

Pepco Official Payment Centers:

  • 701 Ninth Street, N.W. (This location has a drop box for after-hours payment)
  • Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5:15 p.m.
  • 2300 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, S.E. Hours: Monday-Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Other authorized locations can be found here.

Washington Gas Official Payment Centers:

  • Washington Gas Main Office:1100 H Street, NW Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., except holidays.
  • Washington Gas Anacostia/Congress Heights Office (Note: Cash is not accepted at this location): 2300 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., except holidays.
  • Drop Boxes (Checks and Money Orders Only): 101 Constitution Avenue, NW, or 2300 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE
  • Other authorized locations can be found here.

Verizon Payment Centers:

  • Authorized Verizon payment locations can be found here.

Image: Solar Project Applications

OPC has been a longtime advocate of greater access to solar power in underserved District neighborhoods, and is pleased that there is movement toward expanded deployment of community solar facilities. The Community Renewable Energy legislation and final Public Service Commission regulations now open the door for Pepco to begin accepting applications from community solar project developers to set up community renewable energy facilities in the District of Columbia.

These developments pave the way for renters, low-income residents, condominium owners, and others to take advantage of the benefits of solar energy that traditionally have been reserved for homeowners. Through community net metering, consumers can subscribe to a portion of renewable energy from any facility in the District, and receive credit on their monthly utility bill based on the amount of solar energy their portion generates.

Pepco is now processing applications from entities and organizations interested in setting up and/or owning community solar facilities. For more information, click here.

If you have questions about community solar or want to share information about your experience, call OPC's Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Section at (202) 727-3071.

OPC recently filed comments supporting the DC Public Service Commission's (PSC) proposed rules for local telephone service offered by Verizon and other telecommunications service providers (TSPs). The proposed rules require TSPs that provide landline service to District customers over fiber lines to provide a standby backup power unit free of charge. The units must include at least 25 hours of standby backup power. TSPs also would be required to provide customers with replacement batteries, or a bill credit for the cost of replacement batteries, for backup units that rely on battery power.

There is growing use of fiber lines and Internet-based connections to replace copper wire lines. Unfortunately, fiber landline service may not work during a power outage without a backup. Last year, OPC successfully advocated for more consumer protections because Verizon, the District's leading telephone service provider, is transitioning its infrastructure from copper wire to newer technologies. The PSC's proposed rules also require providers to give OPC and the Commission advance notice of their intent to abandon copper service, as well as allow public input.

Find OPC's comments in two parts: Part 1 & Part 2.