For Immediate Release
Measure will result in deeper customer debt; Shift burden to paying customers
Pepco said the Heat Wave Emergency Amendment Act under consideration today by the District of Columbia Council will serve only to push non-paying customers deeper into debt and eventually shift the burden onto all customers.
Pepco had urged the Council to instead reinstate last year's legislation which prevents electric shutoffs on days the temperature is forecast to reach 93 degrees Fahrenheit or above.
The Heat Wave Emergency Act prohibits interruption of electrical service when the National Weather Service forecasts that the heat index for the District of Columbia will be 95 degrees Fahrenheit. When humidity is high, service interruption could be stopped at a temperature as low as 85 degrees Fahrenheit making it the most restrictive disconnection policy in the nation.
"Our goal is to work with people to prevent bill payment problems," said Beverly L. Perry, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs and Public Policy. "Pepco encourages customers to contact us when they have difficulty and we will work with them. This emergency act will only encourage people to get into deeper trouble by running up power bills through the summer, making it more difficult for them to receive adequate energy assistance and leading to larger numbers of cutoffs in the fall."
Perry said customers usually make adjustments in their energy use after receiving their first summer bill. "The Heat Wave Emergency Act does nothing to encourage people to conserve energy and will eventually result in a shifting of the debt to all paying customers."
Pepco, a subsidiary of Pepco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: POM), delivers safe, reliable and affordable electric service to more than 750,000 customers in Maryland and the District of Columbia.