- The District of Columbia Public Service Commission has approved an application submitted jointly by Pepco and the D.C. Department of Transportation that authorizes a multi-year $500 million initiative to bury power lines in the city.
- The project, which will take between six and eight years to complete, aims to mitigate the impact of severe weather on Pepco's distribution system.
- Work will begin in the second half of 2018; regulators also approved a Consumer Education Plan to inform in advance residents in affected Wards of planned work.
It's been just over a year and a half since the PSC approved the proposed $6.8 billion merger between Exelon and Pepco, and while some system improvements were a part of the deal, D.C. regulators say they have been following the resilience issue for some time.
Chairman Betty Ann Kane in a statement said the commission has been monitoring Pepco's outage and restoration efforts since 1999, including what impact storms have on overhead power lines.
"We have directed Pepco to undertake measures that would mitigate the impact of severe weather on its system," said Kane.
The PSC's order is based on legislation passed by the D.C. City Council earlier this year, and allows Pepco and the District Department of Transportation to concerns regarding system reliability and resilience.
According to Electric Light & Power, Pepco will pay half of the $500 million project, the District will pay $187.5 million and DDOT will contribute $62.5 million from its capital improvement budget.
The PSC also approved a Consumer Education Plan to inform in advance residents in the affected Wards when work is ongoing. The Undergrounding Project Charge (UPC) surcharges will appear on customers' bills starting in early 2018, the company said. Feeder construction work is expected to begin in the second quarter of next year in Wards 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8.