For Immediate Release
202-872-2680 (media hotline)
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 1, 2020) – In support of its customers, Pepco has made several enhancements to its multi-year plan, which is pending with the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia, to 'freeze' energy delivery rates for all customers until January 2022, including extending the Residential Customer Base Rate Credit, and offer new and expanded customer support and assistance programs for residential and business customers. With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting many District residents' lives and livelihoods, Pepco's plan, originally filed with the Commission in May of 2019, will continue to provide for a smarter, stronger and cleaner energy future, while ensuring greater assistance and predictability for customers, accountability for the company, and assistance for those in need.
Pepco is proposing to extend several existing assistance and billing programs and will include several new proposed programs to help the company's residential, small business and nonprofit customers recover from the longer-term impacts of the pandemic. These changes also address questions by the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia, Councilmember McDuffie, and other stakeholders to identify opportunities, that this plan allows, to expand support for our customers during this difficult time.
"We know these are extremely challenging times for District of Columbia residents. We want to help. Therefore, we are proposing to enhance our multi-year plan to help our customers, keeping energy rates affordable and supporting our local economy and workforce," said Donna Cooper, Pepco region president. "Each day we are at work modernizing the local energy grid in a safe and reliable manner for our customers and to support the District's clean energy, resiliency, and climate change goals. Pepco is here to help our customers through the current challenges and those ahead as the District begins responsible re-opening strategies for its residents and businesses and looks toward recovery. This updated plan will assist our customers and communities."
In addition to offsetting any increases to energy delivery rates until January 2022, Pepco proposes the following series of programs and funds to help customers during this unprecedented time:
These programs are in addition to the recent extension of Pepco's existing moratorium on disconnections and the waiving of late fees until at least July 1, 2020 for all customers.
The company also proposes temporary discounted rates for houses of worship and human services organizations, bill deferral programs for small businesses, including restaurants and small retail, and programs that accelerate energy efficiency programs for small businesses. For example, the company will also offer a zero percent interest loan program for small businesses on energy efficiency products, which can help them both reduce bills and lower their carbon footprint.
To achieve the rate freeze until 2022, the final year of the multi-year plan, and in recognition of potentially changing circumstances, the company will extend the company-funded Residential Customer Base Rate Credit and will forgo $25 million in proposed rate increases. Pepco also will defer capital expenditures by $60 million, defer recovery of previously approved items, reduce its requested return on equity, and accelerate the benefits associated with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
During the final year of the multi-year plan, distribution rates will be adjusted upward for all customers so that over the period covered by the plan (2019 – 2022), rates will increase 1.5 percent on an average annual basis over the period. This will be the first energy delivery rate increase residential customers will have experienced since 2014. The bill for an average residential customer today is $82.24, and in 2022 is expected to be $89.34 under this modified plan, both of which are lower than the average bill paid by residential customers in 2010.
Because of the flexibility offered by a multi-year plan, Pepco is able to offer these innovative adjustments as a response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The multi-year plan will not only provide certainty for customers during this period, but also allow Pepco to continue to make needed investments in the local energy grid to make it stronger, smarter, cleaner and better able to serve customers during this time and as the District recovers. The multi-year plan also allows Pepco to continue engaging the local business community through its CBE and diverse supplier programs, which comprised over 37 percent of Pepco's expenditures in 2019, as it performs the work necessary to modernize the grid, making it more resilient and secure for years to come.
Since the start of the pandemic, the company's shareholders have committed more than $825,000 in support to the District of Columbia, Montgomery County and Prince George's County communities through its partnership with organizations like the United Way of the National Capital Area and the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, to help with needs such as food insecurity, rent and other financial assistance. The company also took steps to suspend disconnections and reconnect customers whose service was disconnected prior to the pandemic, to ensure healthy and safe environments for all District residents. The company also has important tips and information to help reduce their energy use at pepco.com/waystosave or by calling 202-833-7500.
Pepco also worked with District leaders and a host of local organizations to launch the "Reduce Energy Use DC" initiative. Customers in the District are encouraged to take part in "Reduce Energy Use DC," to receive savings tips and learn about ways they can use energy more efficiently, take steps to reduce energy use at home or work, and save money while helping fight climate change. District residents can learn more at ReduceEnergyUseDC.com.
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