Ward 3 Councilwoman Mary Cheh said recently that the best way to get Pepco to comply with demands for improved services is to bring the Public Service Commission into the picture.
According to Cheh, who has taken the giant utility to task in the past, “Pepco has failed D.C. ratepayers this failure is part of a broader negligence by the agency.”
Pepco, which supplies power for the Washington, D.C. metro area, is accused of lagging behind demand, and has been cited for equipment failure, slow emergency response times during bad weather and an aging infrastructure.
Pepco Holdings CEO Joe Rigby admitted that over the past couple years, customers have often expressed dissatisfaction.
“They’ve told us that we need to make improvements in reliability and we are,” Rigby said earlier this month during a press conference. He said the company is making significant investments aligned with improvements and is pursuing an aggressive and comprehensive mandate. To that end, Pepco has committed $500 million in infrastructure upgrades in the region, where Pepco serves about 788,000 households in Northern Virginia, the District and Prince George’s County, according to Rigby. He said that since he joined the company nearly two years ago, the “fundamentally regulated” utility has consistently beefed up its efforts at improving its dependability.
Pepco spokesman Clay Anderson described the reliability enhancement as an extensive five-point plan that also discusses tree trimming and infrastructure upgrades. He added that so far, Pepco has been on schedule this year in accomplishing its objectives.
Said Anderson: “Mary Cheh speaks for her constituency, which we understand. However, we do need support from the City Council, the Maryland Public Service Commission as well as the DC Public Service Commission, because a lot of people don’t realize that Pepco is very regulated by the local government.”
Rigby added that while the reliability performance is not yet where it needs to be, the company’s efforts have been aggressive. “We may be behind in meeting customers’ expectations at this moment, but we’re working at maximum capacity and we will remain in that mode until we’re done.”