- The District of Columbia Office of the People's Counsel (OPC) on Tuesday called on regulators to dismiss Potomac Electric Power Company's (Pepco) multi-year rate plan (MRP), arguing it has been "riddled with errors, missteps, and false information from the start." The city's government has also said it supports scrapping the utility's rate application.
- The Exelon subsidiary says its plan would freeze rates until January 2022, but OPC calls it a "massive" rate increase of up to $147 million between 2020 and 2023.
- Pepco officials say the D.C. Public Service Commission should reject the OPC filing because the multi-year rate proposal (MRP) would provide "rate certainty" and relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.
OPC and other stakeholders have called on District regulators to direct Pepco to withdraw its entire rate application. They argue that the case has devolved into an "evidentiary and procedural mess that is a waste of public resources."
Joining OPC on the motion are the Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington, the General Services Administration, the Maryland DC Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association, and other groups. The District of Columbia city government has also filed a letter supporting the motion, as has the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
"Simply put, Pepco has turned this process into a debacle," People's Counsel Sandra Mattavous-Frye said in a statement.
The consumer advocate contends the utility has compromised its ability to advocate for ratepayers, and said the "final straw" was Pepco's July 28 filing indicating it had used incorrect data to calculate changes to commercial charges.
"Though Pepco claims the error is minor, it is actually a major issue that could negatively impact all customers, including residential consumers," OPC said.
The D.C. Office of the Attorney General agreed, and on Wednesday told regulators the "repeated and substantial last-minute amendments to its proposal(s) have produced an incurably muddied record that cannot viably support Pepco's application."
Pepco, in a 258-page errata filing last month, said it had made an error regarding demand billing issues in filed rebuttal testimony on the MRP.
"Absent an update to the forecasted demand billing determinants in the Company's proposed MRP rates, the base distribution rates for commercial customers with demand rate components as currently proposed ... would be designed to be too low," the utility said.
While Pepco admitted it made mistakes, the utility in a statement said the proposal "represents our ongoing commitment to deliver affordable energy, support the local economy and workforce, and achieve the District's critical and leading climate change and resiliency goals in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic."
The motion to dismiss Pepco's MRP and terminate the proceeding "would negatively impact customers because customers need assistance and rate certainty now," the utility said. "Dismissing the enhanced Multi-year Plan proposal would dramatically slow the relief available to both residential and commercial customers as well as the progress in delivering clean energy in the future."
Pepco's proposal includes extending a company-funded Residential Customer Base Rate Credit, forecasted to expire in March 2021, for an additional nine-months through December 2021. It would also extend existing and create new payment plans for residential and small business customers to pay down any balances accrued during the pandemic.
Pepco said it is continuing work to provide "transparency, budget predictability, system enhancements and robust planning," and that "any call to dismiss the proposed enhanced Multi-year Plan, and terminate this proceeding before the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia, is not in the best interest of residents of the District of Columbia."