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On June 30, Washington D.C.’s electric utility, Pepco, fresh off a merger with the much larger company, Exelon, asked for what is being called its largest increase ever. The company, the Potomac Electric Power Company or Pepco, had halted its regular, small rate increases for three years while it was trying to win approval for a plan to merge with the Chicago-based Exelon Corporation. Now the merger is complete and the company is trying to catch up with three years of lost increases in one 5.25 percent rate increase.

Consumer and environmental advocates had objected loudly to the merger and obtained a number of concessions in the process. For example, Pepco had to pay each customer a $50 credit, which alone should completely cover the rate increase for most people. Nonetheless, the proposed rate increase landed with a thud. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the D.C. Public Service Commission should “limit the Pepco/Exelon request to the mere requirements of the law.” DC Solar United Neighborhoods, a leading opponent of the merger, said that the announcement was a confirmation of their argument that the “takeover” of Pepco by Exelon was a bad deal for D.C. residents. The public advocate for D.C.’s ratepayers also said it “will be vigilant in examining this monumental filing to ensure that any rate increase is based only on the expenses necessary to keep the lights on and not those associated with Exelon’s lengthy journey to merge with Pepco.”

In its filing, Pepco says a rate increase is necessary to keep up with the investments the company has been making to maintain and improve the reliability of its systems. It claims that these investments have drastically reduced outages since 2011. It also argues that customers will benefit from a financially-strong utility with rates that are in line with expenses.

It is worth noting that many customers in D.C. (and many other areas) have the option of negotiating their own rates, regardless of the rate set by regulators. At US Power and Gas, our independent energy brokers work to assist their customers in finding the lowest energy price. Becoming a US Power and Gas independent energy broker gives you the chance to help your clients while building your financial future. If you are a motivated individual with an entrepreneurial spirit looking for an exciting pathway toward financial independence, contact us today to learn more.

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