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For Immediate Release

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District Residents Favor Customer Choice in the Electricity Market

For Immediate Release

Pepco proposal would keep rates low, ensure reliability

(Washington, DC) - - According to a survey released today by Pepco, District of Columbia consumers want the ability to choose their electricity supplier.

The survey, which was commissioned by Pepco, found that more than two-thirds -- 69 percent -- of District citizens favor customer choice in the electric industry. According to the survey, consumers want choice because they look forward to the benefits that competition will bring - stable rates, a stronger District economy and the freedom to choose. Support for customer choice is strong in all District wards and among all segments of the population.

In releasing the results, Pepco said that future actions taken by the District of Columbia would be critical in opening up the market to customer choice. If done right, there would be a positive impact from competition, especially in bringing forward new products and services, and increasing economic development.

In September of 1998, the Staff of the District of Columbia Public Service Commission issued a report recommending competition on a phased-in basis, with full implementation in the District by 2003.

The survey results also made it clear that consumers want choice implemented in a way that treats District companies fairly. Almost all District citizens -- 92 percent -- agree that it is important to preserve District jobs and keep the District businesses strong under customer choice.

A wide majority -- 79 percent -- believes that Pepco should not be put at a disadvantage when customer choice arrives and out-of-town companies enter the District's electricity market. District consumers also believe that out-of-town electricity companies should be taxed at the same level as District companies.

Pepco sponsored the survey of 600 District consumers in February this year to assess their views on competition in the electricity industry. Competition has already been approved in 20 states, including Maryland and Virginia.

Customer choice in the electricity market would give consumers the freedom to select from several electricity suppliers, in much the same way that consumers choose a long distance telephone supplier.

Pepco has proposed a plan to bring choice to D.C. residents while ensuring continued low prices and reliability. Pepco plans to sell its power plants and focus on the business of delivering electricity to customers. The company plans to share the net gains from the sale of the power plants with customers. The proposal would enable customers to enjoy the benefits of a competitive market sooner, while keeping prices low through a multi-year rate freeze.

Under this proposal, customers would be able to continue purchasing power from Pepco or from many other suppliers. Pepco would still deliver the power regardless of which supplier the customer chooses.

Point of Contact:
Beth Raley

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