District of Columbia Power Line Undergrounding - DC PLUG


 

DC PLUG Construction Begins in Spring of 2019

Beginning in Spring of 2019, Pepco and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will begin construction work on placing major parts of the utility distribution system underground.  DC PLUG is a multi-year program designed to migrate up to 30 of the District’s most vulnerable overhead distribution lines underground, taking place over six to eight years. DC PLUG is a joint effort between the DCPSC, the Office of the Mayor, the City Council, Pepco, DDOT and other government agencies to improve the electric service reliability and reduce the impact of storm-related outages in the District. 

Every two years, Pepco and DDOT will file an application with the DCPSC for approval of a Biennial Plan for DC PLUG.    The Biennial Plan will consist of DDOT’s Underground Electric Company Infrastructure Improvement Activity and Pepco’s Infrastructure Activity planned to be executed over a two-year period. 

DC PLUG activity will commonly occur in areas with the most vulnerable overhead lines; Wards 3, 4, 7 and 8. Construction is slated to begin in Spring of 2019 in the American University Park and Friendship Heights communities, and is then expected to proceed to the Hawthorne, Barnaby Woods, Chevy Chase and Friendship Heights areas.  DC PLUG also includes a comprehensive, 3-year reliability improvement plan for the Benning Road area.

A critical component of the Application filed with the Commission is the requirement of a Consumer Education Plan, which informs the steps each party will take to keep District residents advised of the potential disruptions that the project may create.  The education plan includes notices to residents, ANCs, civic associations and other affected parties through meetings, notices, flyers, postcards and other targeted media.  The DCPSC will monitor these activities throughout the project.

For additional information about DC PLUG visit https://dcpluginfo.com/

Background

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.

The Undergrounding Act
  • In May, 2017, the Mayor signed 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 Pepco of certain charges to finance the undergrounding of certain electric power lines and ancillary facilities.
  • The 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 Undergrounding Act governs Pepco’s and the District Department of Transportation’s 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 Act also changes a portion of the funding structure for 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 law requires Pepco and DDOT to jointly file every two years an application for the 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 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

  • On July 3, 2017, DDOT and Pepco filed a Joint Application for Approval of the First Biennial Underground Infrastructure Improvement Projects Plan and Financing Order Application (“Joint Application”) in compliance with the Undergrounding Act.
  • In its Joint Application, DDOT and Pepco request the Commission to:
    1. approve the first biennial Underground Infrastructure Improvement Projects Plan, which identifies six (6) electric distribution feeders, all or parts of which are currently overhead, that DDOT and Pepco propose to place underground;
    2. approve a charge called the “Underground Project Charge” to recover costs incurred by Pepco to underground the selected feeders and other authorized costs and charges; and
    3. issue a financing order authorizing Pepco to assess a charge called the “Underground Rider” to recover charges imposed on Pepco by the District of Columbia.
  • Both the “Underground Project Charge” and the “Underground Rider” will be paid by Pepco’s District of Columbia customers who take electric distribution service, except for low-income customers served under Pepco’s Residential Aid Discount Rider (“RAD”).
  • The proposed Underground Project Charge (charges incurred by Pepco) represents a total increase of approximately 0.5 cents per day for a typical residential customer who uses 675 kWh per month.
  • The proposed Underground Rider (charges incurred by DDOT that are imposed on Pepco) represents a total increase of approximately 3.5 cents per day for a typical residential customer who uses 675 kWh per month.
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.

Pepco
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.