OPC Office Relocation

Effective November 1, 2022, the OPC office has moved to: 655 15th Street NW, Suite 200, Washington DC, 20005-5701. All correspondence should be directed to this new address. To communicate with OPC staff during the transition, all telephone numbers and staff email addresses will remain the same. No business will be conducted at the outgoing address, 1133 15th Street NW. The public will be advised on this website and through other communication vehicles when the new offices are open for walk-in utility consumer assistance.

Verizon’s transition from copper wire telephone service to digital fiber-optic local phone service

On January 12, 2023 OPC’s Consumer Services and Litigation Services Divisions hosted an information briefing for consumers on the Verizon transition from traditional copper wire local phone service to local phone service that takes advantage of digital fiber optic technology. Hear directly from Verizon how the service differs, why FiOs service is not required, how battery backup will be managed and what to expect in your community as changes are made. See our Telephone page for more information.

OPC Files Testimony with the PSC Opposing Washington Gas Light’s Proposed $53 Million Rate Increase and Calls for Increased Regulatory Oversight of Infrastructure Projects

Washington, DC - The Office of the People’s Counsel for the District of Columbia (OPC) has filed testimony requesting that the DC Public Service Commission (PSC) reject the vast majority ($47.3 million) of Washington Gas Light’s (WGL) $53 million proposed rate increase and urges the PSC to closely examine the impact the rate increase will have on the most financially vulnerable DC consumers. OPC also calls on the PSC to strengthen its regulatory oversight of the gas company’s poor performance with infrastructure projects.

Hot Button Issue: Electrification

In order for the District to meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions 100% by 2050, the District will have to drastically reduce its fossil fuel use. One potential way to do that is called “electrification.” In short, electrification is switching a fossil fuel use such as a stove, boiler, car or bus to one that runs on electricity. As the District’s electricity increasingly comes from “green” sources like solar panels and other renewable resources, the electricity used by those electric appliances and vehicles become closer to fossil-fuel free. OPC is working to ensure that District consumers’ needs are served in the development and execution of electrification plans. For example, in the DC Public Service Commission (“PSC”) proceeding regarding Pepco’s proposed transportation electrification program (FC1130) OPC is working to ensure this program equitably benefits ratepayers in all eight wards. OPC is also participating in DOEE’s transportation electrification roadmap to ensure the voice of consumers is included. You can learn more about the District’s draft electrification plans here and look out for additional ways to weigh in on them here.

Water Affordability Study

D.C. Makes Water Affordability Possible for District Residents In June 2022, staff of The Office of the People’s Counsel (OPC) attended the 2022 National Energy & Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC) conference in New Orleans, LA. OPC contracted the technical consulting firm, APPRISE, to conduct a Water Affordability Study for the District of Columbia (“District”) prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic. These findings were discussed during the 2022 NEUAC conference. The findings from the study found many shortcomings in the access to financial assistance for many Districts residents prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The District is comprised primarily of multifamily properties, which made access to financial assistance for water bills virtually unattainable for many households that would otherwise be eligible for assistance. The APPRISE Water Affordability study also found that many eligible District residents simply were not enrolled in the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) Customer Assistance Program (CAP) that could assist with the monthly financial burden of their water bills. The Study notes:
  1. Of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligible residents, 78% were not enrolled in CAP.
  2. Of the non-SNAP eligible residents, 89% were not enrolled in CAP
  3. Of the eligible moderate-income residents, 99% were not enrolled in CAP.
The study did not identify “Why” there was low enrollment in the CAP program. The great news is that the District has made major improvements in the availability of financial assistance to the largest group of District residents. The DC Water Multifamily Assistance Program (MAP) provides financial assistance up to $2,000 for residents in multifamily properties. Prior to the implementation of this program, multifamily property residents had virtually no options for financial assistance towards their water bills. In addition to the MAP program, the Residential Assistance Program (Emergency Residential Relief) assists consumers of single-family households with up to $2,000 to help income-eligible customers eliminate their past due balance. Additionally, consumers approved for emergency residential relief would be enrolled in the previously discussed Customer Assistance Program (CAP) which provides monthly discounts for residential consumers. Eligible households receive discounts on water and sewer services and/or discounts on some fees (CAP 1, CAP 2, CAP 3). Discounts range from $166 to $962 annually. The findings from the Water Affordability Study demonstrated that while there are some challenges to water affordability, the District is ahead of many other cities regarding access to financial assistance for water bills. Since the Water Affordability Study was concluded, a major achievement in the access to water affordability programs for many District residents has been the implementation of the MAP program that aids thousands of District residents that were once ineligible for any assistance for their water bills. OPC is examining how meaningful and effective the MAP program is for consumers living in multi-unit buildings. For more information on the programs mentioned, please contact The Office of the Peoples Counsel via telephone or email at (202)727-3071/TTY-TTD: (202) 727-2876 or info@opc-dc.gov.