Op-EdOpinion

DAVIS: Urge D.C. to Say No to Pepco’s Massive Rate Increase

D.C. utility customers already pay some of the highest rates in the nation. Utility bills are an essential pocketbook issue for many of us. We know there are families all across the District that must budget carefully to pay for utilities along with other household expenses, and food and medicine. That is especially true for older residents and those on low or fixed incomes.

Recently Pepco filed a request to raise rates on their D.C. customers by outrageous amounts. Included in that request was a multi-year rate scheme that would minimize the role of the D.C. Public Service Commission (PSC) in providing oversight and demanding accountability from Pepco. The PSC should reject this proposal from Pepco.

The multi-year rate scheme proposed Pepco would guarantee rate increases for three years in a row, adding up to a total of a 15% increase in their customers’ rates. Typically, rate increase requests must be filed each time separately. The process requires giving the PSC ample opportunity to investigate the necessity of any increase, and requiring that Pepco account for and justify every rate increase in detail. Giving Pepco permission to raise rates for three years in a row without that accountability before each increase is unacceptable. AARP urges the PSC to reject this request entirely and require the standard review process for each rate increase request.

Additionally, Pepco is requesting a 44% increase in the customer charge on monthly bills. This is the charge that customers must pay before they even turn on their lights. If this request is approved, it will make the Pepco customer charge in D.C. one of the highest in the country. AARP urges the PSC to reject this unfair increase in the customer charge.

And finally, Pepco has requested a 10.3% rate of return, up from their current 9.52% — a rate of return that is already higher than the national average. AARP urges the PSC to reject the increase entirely and actually reduce Pepco’s rate of return.

AARP has a long history of fighting to ensure that utility companies receive only what is fair and reasonable – and not a dollar more. D.C. utility customers cannot afford these huge rate increases requested by Pepco. We urge the PSC to reject this proposal and represent the interests of Pepco’s D.C. customers, who do not have a choice in who provides their utilities.

For more information, go to aarp.org/DC.

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