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.
The District’s Plans for Climate Resilience
Climate change has brought big changes to the weather in the District and these changes are projected to get worse. With hotter summers, increased flooding and more severe storms from climate change District communities will need to be able to “weather” these disruptions. The project of helping communities survive and thrive weather changes is called climate resilience, or climate change adaptation. The District has a series of plans that describe what the District intends to do to become climate resilient: Climate Ready DC (2016) - The District’s first climate resilience plan, Climate Ready DC, was issued in 2016. To develop the plan the District government convened a team of technical experts to assess the likely impacts of climate change on District businesses and residents. The plan proposed 77 actions for the District to become climate ready. Resilient DC (2019) – Resilient DC expanded the focus of resiliency projects. This plan defines “urban resilience” as “the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and thrive no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.” The plan presents a broad strategy for developing greater resilience in the District. Strategic Roadmap for Climate Ready DC (2020) – Given the ever-increasing urgency of climate change, the 2020 Strategic Roadmap for Climate Ready DC went through a community-informed prioritization exercise to hone in on the 35 most high priority actions from the 2016 Climate Ready DC. The Plan gives update on actions, next steps, and implementation strategies for those high-priority actions. OPC, as the advocate for gas, electric, and water consumers, is helping to educate District residents about available home or community-based resilience programs. When these programs are funded by ratepayers OPC is advocating for the programs to be cost-effective, just, affordable, and equitable.