DC Undergrounding

As A Leader In The Development Of The DC PLUG Program, See How OPC Has Ensured That Ratepayers Are Positioned To Receive The Benefits Of This Nearly $1 Billion Dollar Investment

PSC Undergrounding Initiative Orders


Formal Case No. 1116


Formal Case No. 1121


Proposed Underground Routes

On May 3, 2014, The Electric Company Infrastructure Improvement Financing Act of 2013 (B20-0387) became law in the District of Columbia. This new law authorizes the undergrounding of up to 60 of the City's worst performing feeder distribution lines across Wards 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8 of the District. Moreover, it marks the culmination of a nearly two-year effort by Mayor Vincent C. Gray, the City Council, the Office of the People's Counsel ("OPC" or "Office"), the D.C. Public Service Commission ("Commission" or "PSC"), and other stakeholders to effect a historic public-private partnership between the District and the Potomac Electric Power Company ("Pepco" or "Company") to improve the reliability of the District's electric-distribution system, which has been plagued with repeated power outages for decades.

 Now that this legislation has become law, Pepco and the PSC will have to work quickly to fulfill several key requirements and meet the statutory mandates. Specifically, within 45 days of the law's May 3, 2014 effective date (i.e., June 18, 2014), Pepco must file with the Commission for review and approval its plans detailing the specific overhead distribution lines to be placed underground over the next three years. Pepco must also provide cost data and other relevant information related to all aspects of its undergrounding plan. Once the Commission rules on this forthcoming filing, OPC and the general public will know exactly when and in which communities/Ward(s) Pepco and the District of Columbia Department of Transportation ("DDOT") will begin their undergrounding work.

Within 90 days of the laws implementation (i.e., August 1, 2014), Pepco must file an application with the Commission for review and approval for a financing order with respect to the repayment of bonds for DDOT undergrounding activities funded by the newly-effective law. The Commission's financing order will authorize Pepco to recover from ratepayers the PSC-approved costs necessary to enable the District to pay the debt service and other financing costs associated with bonds issued pursuant to the law. The costs approved by the Commission in both of these proceedings will be incorporated in a surcharge, which will be included in D.C. ratepayers' future Pepco bills.

Under the newly-effective law, OPC will serve as a party of right, will continue to represent the interests of consumers, and will provide all interested persons with information on how to participate in the proceedings before the PSC. Each of these Commission proceedings will also feature a public hearing, which will provide D.C. ratepayers an additional opportunity to voice their thoughts and concerns regarding Pepco's proposals.