Category: General News

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Category: General News


OPC Observes Earth Day

Click the link to read OPC's column, "Planet vs Plastics."

Check Out OPC’s 2021-2022 Progress Report on the work of the Office of People’s Counsel

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.

Consumer Alert: Upcoming Utility Service Disconnections

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

OPC’s Advocacy Helps to Save Pepco Ratepayers $24.1 million

Washington, DC- People's Counsel for the District of Columbia Sandra Mattavous-Frye today announced that the DC Public Service Commission has approved a settlement agreement that lowers Pepco's distribution rates by $24.1 million. That means Pepco consumer rates will remain unchanged until 2021, based on the settlement agreement that the Office of the People's Counsel, Pepco, D.C. Government, the Apartment & Office Building Association, and other key stakeholders proposed to the PSC in April 2018. "In every single rate case, OPC's seeks the maximum, tangible benefits for District consumers and this case is no exception," states People's Counsel Mattavous-Frye. The agreement balances the corporate tax reductions included in the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and Pepco's request for a rate increase of over $66 million in December 2017. The settlement also will extend the Residential Customer Base Rate Credit OPC won for consumers in the Pepco/Exelon merger. Combining the settlement announced yesterday with the benefit of the rate credit, residential consumers have not paid for an increase in the distribution rate for four years. PDF available for Download

OPC Doubles Down in Opposing Pepco’s Multiyear Rate Hike Plans in PSC Filing

The Office of the People’s Counsel for the District of Columbia has filed an initial brief stating the reasons why the DC Public Service Commission (PSC) should reject Pepco’s application to increase rates. In the brief filed yesterday, People's Counsel Sandra Mattavous-Frye reiterates OPC’s opposition to both of Pepco’s Multiyear Rate Plans (MRPs) which, if approved, would increase rates by $135.9 million or more by January 1, 2022. OPC recommends that the Commission, instead, decide this case based on Pepco’s traditional rate filing while implementing mitigation measures so that District ratepayers do not see the impact of any rate increase at this time. “The only winners in this case are Pepco and its shareholders,” the People’s Counsel says. “District ratepayers are hurting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Pepco’s MRP proposals will only make the situation worse.” On April 24, 2020, the District’s Chief Financial Officer asserted it will take “most of calendar year 2021 for the economy to recover the ground that it has lost” with the unemployment rate peaking at 18%. It is inconceivable that District residents and businesses can withstand a rate increase of this magnitude amid the current economic climate. OPC’s brief thoroughly explains how approval of a three-year MRP would only serve Pepco’s interest and would weaken regulatory oversight. Pepco has claimed it will offer COVID-19 relief programs and “freeze rates” but only if the Commission approves one of the MRPs. Pepco has claimed that it is “freezing rates” for all customers until 2022, but if the Commission approves the MRP, commercial customers will see an immediate 60-70% increase in the volumetric portion of their bill. On January 1, 2022, residential customers will see a 26% increase in their distribution service charges, and another higher jump in 2023 when Pepco is done offsetting rates with the money it already owes back to customers. The rate increases will not end there, Pepco has also stated it intends to file another rate case in 2022. OPC is appalled that the company is misleading customers and giving ultimatums to the Commission. As noted by the People’s Counsel, “The Commission encouraged Pepco to investigate alternative ratemaking as a way to support the District’s modernization and climate goals, but neither of Pepco’s MRPs comes close to meeting the legal requirements for approval or helping the District reach its environmental goals, and they fail to serve the public interest of District ratepayers.” OPC’s brief explains that while Pepco claims its MRP proposals support the District’s climate and modernization goals, the Company has made no changes to its business model, and its proposals include no projects that would support these goals. If approved, these game-changing plans would amount to a three-year advance of capital to Pepco on the backs of ratepayers, less regulatory oversight and transparency, and limited opportunities to control Pepco overspending on projects. “I want consumers to know that throughout this 18-month-old case, marked by the challenges of COVID-19 and questionable behavior by Pepco, OPC has remained focused on ensuring that the rates charged for their electric service will be just and reasonable. I strongly urge consumers to make every effort to submit written comments opposing Pepco’s MRP to the Public Service Commission by the close of the record on December 23,” said People’s Counsel Mattavous-Frye.

Need a Test? Get a Test: District Expands Free COVID-19 Testing at Firehouses Across DC

Beginning, Monday, June, 15, the District is expanding free COVID-19 testing to include four firehouses each day, Monday-Saturday. The firehouse testing sites are walk-up and no appointment is needed. Over the past two weeks, two firehouses have been open each evening, Monday through Friday, for free COVID-19 testing. So far, more than 2,300 people have been tested at a firehouse. The testing at these sites is done by personnel from the DC Fire and EMS Department, the Public Health Lab, and the Department of Health. The new firehouse testing schedule is below: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, 4 pm – 8 pm. Engine 4 (2531 Sherman Ave NW) Engine 11 (3420 14th St NW) Engine 24 (5101 Georgia Ave NW) Engine 31 (4930 Connecticut Ave NW) Thursday and Friday, 4 pm – 8 pm, and Saturday from 12 pm – 4 pm. Engine 8 (1520 C St SE) Engine 10 (1342 Florida Ave NE) Engine 30 (50 49th St NE) Engine 33 (101 Atlantic St SE) The firehouse testing sites are in addition to the many free testing sites across DC, including the walk-up testing site at F Street, NW between 4th and 5th Streets, NW and the drive-thru and walk-up testing sites at 2241 Martin Luther King Jr Avenue SE in Ward 8 and at the UDC-CC Bertie Backus campus in Ward 5. Residents are still encouraged to access testing through their health care providers so that they are connected to health care. However, anyone who needs a test can get a test at the testing locations listed above. Find a full list of testing locations at