District of Columbia Power Line Undergrounding - DC PLUG

Due to severe weather events between 2010-2016 including the February 2010 winter storm, the June 2012 Derecho, and the January 2016 blizzard, the DC PLUG (DC Power Line Undergrounding) Initiative was established to primarily make the electric distribution system more resilient during severe weather events, reducing the duration and frequency of electric outages.

DC PSC Chairman Releases Statement on the District of Columbia Power Line Undergrounding (DC PLUG) Initiative

The New Law
  • In May, 2017, the Mayor signed new legislation (“the Undergrounding Act”) that amended the Electric Company Infrastructure Improvement Financing Act of 2014 that authorizes the collection and use by the District of Columbia and the Potomac Electric Power Company (“Pepco”) of certain charges to finance the undergrounding of certain electric power lines and ancillary facilities.
  • The new law (originally signed as emergency-temporary legislation) became effective on May 17, 2017.  The permanent law became effective on July 11, 2017 following no action by congress upon its review of the permanent legislation.
  •  The new Undergrounding Act governs Pepco’s and the District Department of Transportation’s (“DDOT”) public-private partnership to bury overhead primary power lines to improve electric service reliability and reduce the impact of storm-related outages in the District of Columbia. 
  • The new Act also changes a portion of the funding structure for the District of Columbia Power Line Undergrounding (“DC PLUG”) project from bonds issued by the District and securitized by ratepayers, as authorized under the original 2014 Act, to a pay-as-you-go structure with the cost imposed on Pepco and recovered by Pepco through a tariff rider authorized under the new amended Act.
  • The new law requires Pepco and DDOT to jointly file every two (2) years an application for the District of Columbia Public Service Commission’s (“Commission”) approval of a biennial Underground Infrastructure Improvement Projects Plan (“Biennial Undergrounding Plan”), in lieu of the Triennial Plan required under the original 2014 Act.  The Biennial Undergrounding Plan is to consist of DDOT’s Underground Electric Company Infrastructure Improvement Activity and Pepco’s Infrastructure Activity planned to be undertaken in a two-year period.  The new law also authorizes an annually adjusted surcharge to recover costs associated with the Electric Company Infrastructure Improvement Costs (“Underground Project Charge”) approved by the Commission. 
DDOT/Pepco Application

DDOT/Pepco Application

Location of the work
  • The 6 feeders identified in the Biennial Plan for placement underground are:
    1. #308 – Ward 3
    2. 14758 – Ward 8
    3. 14007 – Ward 5
    4. 15009 – Ward 4
    5. 14900 – Ward 4
    6. 368 – Ward 7
Status of Application Proceeding Before the Commission
  • The Commission posted a Public Notice regarding the DDOT/Pepco application on its website on July 6, 2017, and published the Notice on July 14, 2017 in the D.C. Register.
  • Interested persons may intervene in Formal Case No. 1145, the formal case established by the Commission to adjudicate Pepco and DDOT’s application on or before July 28, 2017. 
  • Any person desiring to comment on the Joint Application may file written comments with the Commission on or before Tuesday, September 12, 2017. 
  • No evidentiary hearings will be held unless contested issues of material fact are present and those issues cannot be resolved by the Commission based on the pleadings and discovery responses filed by the parties in the case, if any. 
  • In accordance with the Expedited Procedural Schedule approved by the Commission in Order No. 18801, issued on June 15, 2017, the final day to request a hearing based on a material issue of fact is September 13, 2017. 
  • In accordance with the new law, the Commission has 60 days from the final date comments are due to issue a decision on the Application, which would be November 13, 2017.  If an evidentiary hearing is held, the Commission has 60 days from the close of the hearing record to issue a decision.
  • All petitions for intervention and written comments should be sent to Ms. Brinda Westbrook-Sedgwick, Commission Secretary, Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia, 1325 G Street, NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20005.
Community Hearings
  • The dates, times, and locations of the community hearings are:

Friday, July 21, 2017 – 2:30 P.M.
Community of Hope
4 Atlantic Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20032

Pepco's Presentation - Friday, July 21, 2017

Monday, July 24, 2017 – 6:30 P.M.
Trinity University College
O’Connor Auditorium
125 Michigan Avenue, NE
Washington, D.C. 20017

Pepco's Presentation - Monday, July 24, 2017

OPC's Presentation - Monday, July 24, 2017

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - 11:30 A.M.
St. John’s United Baptist Church
6343 13th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20011

Pepco's Presentation - Tuesday, July 25, 2017

OPC's Presentation - Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 – 6:30 P.M.
Temple Sinai
3100 Military Road, NW
Washington, D.C. 20015

Pepco's Presentation - Tuesday, July 25, 2017

OPC's Presentation - Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Additional Information
  • The DDOT/Pepco Joint Application is available for viewing on the Commission’s website (www.dcpsc.org) and may be inspected in the Public Service Commission’s Office of the Commission’s Secretary, 1325 G Street, Suite 800, Washington D.C. 20005 between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

Office of the City Administrator
The Government of the District of Columbia approved a multi-year power line undergrounding project to help prevent prolonged electric service outages during significant weather events.

The DC PLUG initiative is a partnership between the District and Pepco to improve the reliability and resiliency of the District of Columbia electric system by placing select systems underground.

District’s Department of Transportation
DC Plug Team works in collaboration with PEPCO to underground power lines.