District of Columbia Power Line Undergrounding - DC PLUG

In November 2014, the Public Service Commission approved the first three years of the Power Line Undergrounding initiative (“DC PLUG”). This effort will help to prevent extended electric service outages caused by major storms by relocating some overhead power lines underground.
  • Benefits of the $1 billion, seven-to-ten year initiative include improved reliability day to day and during severe storms, reduced outages and faster restoration, and economic benefits including new jobs for District of Columbia residents.
  • Funding for the initiative will come through a combination of Pepco debt and equity ($500 million), funding provided by the District as part of DDOT Capital Improvement funding ($62 million up to $125 million) and funds obtained from securitized bonds issued by the District ($375 million). Recovery of the costs will come through two surcharges on Pepco customers’ bills.
Where Work Will Occur
  • The areas identified in the Triennial Plan will include the primary feeders most affected by outages on the overhead electric system mainly in Wards 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8. These wards have the greatest problems with electric-service outages following major storms because overhead power lines are vulnerable to damage from wind and downed trees. Secondary feeders and house-connected service lines will remain overhead on the existing poles.
  • The electrical system in Wards 1, 2 and 6 is largely located underground.  
  • Pepco’s existing reliability enhancement efforts will continue in all wards.
  • DC PLUG will coordinate with the Urban Forestry Administration to help ensure that protection and maintenance of trees is a project priority.

  • By undergrounding the primary-mainline and primary-lateral power lines as well as associated equipment, Pepco is expecting to reduce the frequency and duration of outages caused by the overhead power lines by 95 percent on improved feeders.
  • Improvement of electric service reliability will attract business investment, support economic growth, and upgrade a critical component of the District’s infrastructure.
  • The DC PLUG initiative will also contribute to the economy of the District of Columbia by stimulating economic growth through job creation.

Project Updates
The Commission approves the Triennial Plans and financing mechanisms to ensure that the public interest is protected. Related Cases
  • FC 1116 - Pepco/DDOT's application for approval of the Power Lines Underground Projects Plan
  • FC 1121 - Pepco's Financing Order Application/DC PLUG Initiative