The OPC CONNECTION - June 2017

 

A Note from Your People's Counsel

This is the time when the crystal balls come out to predict upcoming weather for the summer season. No matter what is forecast, it’s always a good idea tofollow the Boy Scout Motto:“Be Prepared!”

OPC’s mission to advocate,educate and protect consumers includes helping you get ready for possible extreme weather.Year round, we provide workshops to help consumers be preparedfor whatever the elements bring. We also keep in constant contact with utility companies during weather events.

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season began June 1 and runs through November 30.National Weather Service forecasters predict a 45 percent chance of an above normal season. They note a 70 percent likelihood of 11 to 17 named storms(winds of 39 mph or higher).An average season produces 12 named storms.

Does your household have an emergency plan in the event of a power outage? You should have an emergency kit available with at least three days of nonperishable food, water and medicine,particularly if someone in the household has special medical needs.Be sure to check with Pepco in advance if a loved one relies on electricity for life-support equipment.

We’ve already sweated through the heat of above normal June temperatures. Forecasters predict the rest of the summer will have normal or slightly above normal temps. When we feel likecranking up the AC, being Boy Scout-like means practicing simple energy efficiency tips to save on summer utility bills. They include: get a professional to perform annual maintenance of your central cooling system and replace filters regularly; set your thermostat to 78 degrees when home and 85 degrees when away; and use fans to circulate air instead of air conditioning.

all OPC at (202) 727-3071 for information about our consumer education workshops.Also, find a variety of useful information at www.opc-dc.gov.

Try to stay cool.Stay safe.Stay prepared!

Electriccars are now more popular than ever and increasingly the subject of discussionson the local and national levels. For example, OPC Program Analyst KeishaaAustin recently moderated a panel, “Electric Vehicles--Challenges andOpportunities--The Roll of Policy and Regulation,” at the National Associationof State Utility Consumer Advocates’ mid-year meeting in Denver, CO. Presentersincluded Mark Duvall of the Electric Power Research Institute; and Martin R.Cohen of Martin R. Cohen & Associates. They shared ideas about the role ofconsumer advocates in helping to design rates for electric vehicle chargingstations that are fair and just for all ratepayers. With more statesadopting electric vehicle technology, OPC viewed the panel as an opportunity todiscuss EV developments in the District of Columbia.

In April 2017, Pepco filed a request with the DC Public ServiceCommission to establish an EV Charging Pilot Program that would offer electricvehicle owners incentives to charge their vehicles at home during off-peakhours. OPC is encouraged by Pepco’sproactive efforts to manage future EV load. However, OPC has questioned thefinancing of the pilot program and filed comments at the PSC taking thatposition. OPC is waiting for a decision from the Commission concerning theapproval and content of the EV Charging Pilot Program. The Office will continue to advocate on behalfof District consumers and remain engaged with all city agencies responsible forthe deployment of EV charging infrastructure in the District.

OPCis advocating for consumers in the following cases:

Formal Case No. 1119 – The Joint Merger Application of Exelon Corporation and PepcoHoldings, Inc.

On May2, 2017 OPC appeared before the DC Court of Appeals, to appeal the PSC’sdecision to approve the merger of Exelon Corporation and Pepco Holdings, Inc.The Court is expected to render a decision this summer.

Formal Case Nos. 1115, 1027, GT97-3, GT06-1

Together,the Formal Cases involve WGL’s requests for approval of infrastructure projectsthat repair, improve, or replace gas pipelines and infrastructure; licensingrequirements for natural gas distributors; and uniform standards for customerservice issues. OPC was active in these cases on May 1, May 9 and May 30.

  • 1115 - Washington Gas LightCompany’s Request for Approval of a Revised Accelerated Pipeline ReplacementProgram
  • 1027-Emergency Petition of the Office of the People’s Counsel for an ExpeditedInvestigation of the Distribution System of Washington Gas Light Company
  • GT06-1-Application of Washington Gas Light Company for Authority to Amend GeneralService Provision No. 23
  • GT97-3 - Application ofWashington Gas Light Company For Authority To Amend Its Rate Schedule No. 6

RM402017-01 - 15 DCMR Chapter 40 – District of Columbia Small GeneratorInterconnection Rules, and Formal Case No. 1050 – Investigation ofImplementation Standards in the District of Columbia

In February 2017, the Commission gave notice that itintends to amend its rules governing net energy metering. On May 3 and, 18, OPCfiled Initial Comments and Reply Comments, respectively, in this proposed rulemakingmatter, wherein the Office identified its issues and concerns with the proposedCommission rules.

Formal Case No. 1142 – Merger of AltaGas, Ltd. and WGL Holdings,Inc.

On May15, OPC filed comments in the proceeding pertaining to the procedural schedule,and factors and issues relating to the proposed merger.

Formal Case No. 1130 – The Investigation into Modernizing the Energy DeliverySystem for Increased Sustainability (MEDSIS)

On May19, OPC submitted its “Value of Solar Study,” which identifies and addressesthe barriers to deploying distributed solar within the District, to the PSC tobe a part of the record in the MEDSIS proceedings

Formal Case No. 1143- Pepco’s Proposal for a Limited DemandManagement Program for Plug-In Vehicle Charging in the District

OnMay 22, OPC filed Initial Comments in this matter, wherein the Officeidentified its concerns and issues with Pepco’s Electric Vehicle ProgramApplication.

In our continuing profiles of OPC employees who work daily toserve District utility consumers, we introduce Erica Bright, OPC AdministrativeSpecialist and Training Coordinator.

Erica Bright has never been to New Orleans and was nowhere near the “Big Easy”in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina delivered death and destruction to the state of Louisiana.Nonetheless, she has shared the heartbreak, frustration and extreme loss ofKatrina’s victims. That’s because prior to coming to OPC, Erica served as anoutreach coordinator for a faith-based organization in the Harrisburg area thataided hurricane victims who came to Pennsylvania for relief.

The drive to be with another agency whose mission is to help people in need iswhat attracted the New York City native to OPC 11 years ago. While she does notdirectly interface with constituents, Erica very much appreciates the work hercolleagues perform to help consumers keep their utilities on.

Equipped witha master’s degree in management from Catholic University, Erica says she has anatural ability to organize and get things done.Someday, she might like to operateher own management consulting firm. For now, she’s working hard at managing OPC’sperformance management and staff training, among other duties.

In her spare time, Erica claims to be “so boring.” But she likes to readthoughtprovoking books. Her favorite novel is “Their Eyes Were Watching God,”by Zora Neale Hurston.Erica says she can identify with the strength anddetermination of the main character.

OPC’s Regulatory Finance Director Naunihal “Nick” SinghGumer recently represented the Office of the People’s Counsel as a speaker at atraining seminar in Sri Lanka. The session took place April 25 – April 28 inColombo, the largest city and commercial capital of Sri Lanka. The program wassponsored by the US State Department Global PowerSection and organized by the National Association of Regulatory UtilityCommissioners (NARUC).

Nick’s presentation highlighted a wide array ofutility-related topics. They included: the DC Power Line Undergrounding Project(DC PLUG), the role of the regulator in monitoring utility performance,performance incentives for regulated utilities, and demand response. Theseminar gave Nick a chance to not only expand OPC’s presence abroad, but alsoprovide important information on utility-related issues directly affecting theDistrict of Columbia to an international audience.

OPC’sNaunihal Singh Gumer (seated far right) with representatives offive regulatory agencies in the United States, Anna Shpitsberg of the USState Department (seated second from right and Saliya Mathew, Chairman of theSri Lanka Public Utilities Commission (third from right).

The Greater Washington Urban League (GWUL) serves 65,000 residents in Washington, DC, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County, MD. GWUL manages and administers programs in education, employment and training; housing and community development; health promotion; financial literacy; and emergency utility assistance.

Erica Bright has never been to New Orleans and was nowhere near the “Big Easy”in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina delivered death and destruction to the state of Louisiana.Nonetheless, she has shared the heartbreak, frustration and extreme loss ofKatrina’s victims. That’s because prior to coming to OPC, Erica served as anoutreach coordinator for a faith-based organization in the Harrisburg area thataided hurricane victims who came to Pennsylvania for relief.

The Greater Washington Urban League was founded in 1938 and is one of more than 100 affiliates of the National Urban League.A major civil rights and social services organization, the League has been addressing a wide range of social and economic issues for 71 years.

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