Who We Are
The mission of the Office of the People’s Counsel (“OPC” or “The Office”) is to: advocate for the provision of safe and reliable quality utility service and equitable treatment at rates that are just, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory; advocate for climate change policies that transition the District to a clean energy economy and sustainable environment in support of the District’s climate goals and that benefits District utility consumers; assist individual consumers in disputes with utility providers; provide technical assistance, education, and outreach to consumers, ratepayers, community groups, and associations; and provide legislative analysis and information to the Council of the District of Columbia on matters relating to utilities. The Office’s mission further includes consideration of the District’s economy and promotion of the environmental sustainability of the District.
Following the DC Council’s passage of the DC Water Consumer Protection Amendment Act of 2018 on December 18, 2018, the Office of the People’s Counsel’s area of advocacy was expanded. Effective April 11, 2019, OPC was authorized to directly assist DC Water ratepayers with service issues. This means OPC’s Water Services Division staff can independently begin an investigation of a water consumer’s complaint.
In addition, in defining its positions while advocating on matters pertaining to the operation of public utility or energy companies, the Office shall consider the public safety, the economy of the District of Columbia, the conservation of natural resources, and the preservation of the environmental quality, including effects on global climate change and the District’s public climate commitments.
History of the Office
Originally established by the United States Congress in 1926, the Office was eliminated by that body in a federal Executive Branch reorganization in 1952. Community concern in 1975 about rapidly rising electric rates resulted in the reestablishment of the Office by Congress through 88 Stat. 1975, Public Law 93-614. The Office became an independent agency of the District of Columbia government on January 2, 1975.