OPC is Here to Help!
Below you will find answers and resources for some of the questions consumers ask us every day. If you don’t find what you are looking for give us a call.
What is the Consumer Bill of Rights?
The CBOR provides safeguards for utility consumers that use natural gas, electricity, and telecommunications services in the District’s competitive utility markets. It defines the relationship and responsibilities of utility service providers and consumers. Document Link
Do I have similar rights as a DC Water Consumer?
Yes, OPC effectively advocated to create a bill of rights to meet the needs of water customers. Some rules such as billing, consumer complaint resolution and customer responsibility are different than for other utilities, because of the nature of water and sewer services. Dc water consumers bill of rights
I have a question about my utility service, who can I ask?
OPC has a staff of consumer specialists available to answer your questions about natural gas, electricity, telephone and DC Water services. Call us at 202-727-3071 daily.
I have a consumer complaint, what should I do?
Contact OPC, our services are free and we will put you in touch with a complaint specialists who can explain the process for each utility and help you take the next steps toward resolution.
How long will it take to get an answer about my utility complaint?
The Utility or Energy Supplier is required to respond within fourteen (14) Business Days or within such time as approved in a request for an extension.
Do I still have to pay my bill?
Yes. Although payments towards the disputed amount are put on hold, any charges accrued after that amount, consumers are required to pay.
Will I have to pay late fees while I wait on an answer from the utilities?
What options do I have if I don’t agree with the utility’s response?
If the matter in which a consumer seeks assistance cannot be resolved informally, the consumer can file a Formal Complaint with the Public Service Commission (PSC).
It is important to note that a water consumer has twenty (20) days to challenge the bill in WRITING. They can submit an email to DCW at firstname.lastname@example.org. Challenging the bill in writing will authorize DCW to investigate and submit a Bill Investigation Report (BIR) to the consumer. If the consumer disagrees with BIR they can file a petition for administrative hearing within 15-days of receiving the BIR.
What do I do if I receive a disconnection notice from my utility company?
Contact OPC. Our Community Outreach Specialists of the Consumer and Water Services Division will assist you in identifying the steps to prevent your utility from being disconnected.
What do I do if my utility is disconnected?
Contact your utility company and then contact OPC. You should contact your utility company to understand why they disconnected your utility. Before agreeing to a payment plan or restoration fees, you should contact OPC to discuss the disconnection and restoration of your utility service.
What is a Third-Party Supplier and what is Customer Choice?
A third party supplier is a company not regulated by the DC Public Service Commission that is licensed to offer competitive utility service in the District of Columbia. As a consumer you can choose to enter into a contract with one of these companies. You will still be billed by the local utility but your utility rate will be determined by your contract agreement. Read more here about customer choice in DC.
How do I get Solar in my home?
There are many ways to build and finance a solar PV system. Take some time to learn about solar, so you can be confident that your investment is a good one. The District Government offers the Solar for All program to bring the benefits of solar to 100,000 DC consumers at all income levels and a program for single family homeowners through the DC Sustainable Energy Utility. OPC’s guide can help you decide whether it makes sense for you to go solar, and if so, how. You may want to buy solar panels and put them on your roof. You may want to lease a solar panel system, or purchase the electricity from panels that belong to someone else. Rather than having panels on your own home, you may want to participate in a solar project located somewhere else in the District.
Is DC Water under the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission?
DC Water is not under the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission. The board of DC Water oversees DC Water. DC Water is a nonprofit utility organization.
Why am I billed for the Clean Rivers Impervious Area Charge (CRIAC)?
The CRIAC charge was created by DC Water to offset the cost of legally required water and sewage system upgrades necessary to resolve pollution in area waterways. The amount of the charge is based on the square footage of each property in the District, as surveyed using aerial maps. Most residential homes are in a billing tier for properties of 1000 sq feet or less of impervious cover, or surface area that does not absorb water on site. Because stormwater runoff into sewers is a major contributor to pollution and the need for costly sewage construction, DC Water considered a sliding fee based on the size of property to be an equitable method to bill consumers for a share of the costs. When the Clean Rivers project began the basic fee was a low $1.24 per month for many households. As the project has continued, the fee for a typical 1000 square foot property has risen to $25.18 monthly.