October 24, 2016, the CUB wrote Mayor Bowser requesting she reinstate the practice of allowing the CUB to interview finalists for Nominees to the DC Public Service Commission and the Office of People’s Counsel.
This past December 20, 2016, the Council’s Committee of the Whole confirmed the Mayor’s nominee, Richard Beverly, to replace Public Service Commissioner Joanne Doddy Fort. Mr. Beverly currently serves as General Counsel to the DC Public Service Commissioner, a position he has served in for about 17 years.
Of interest is the 36-day timeline for this appointment:
November 1, or about, the Council is informed of the Mayor’s nomination of Beverly.
November 21, the Cub learns that the Council Committee of the Whole’s, Subcommittee on Local Business Development and Utilities (Chair Charles Allen; Subcommittee Members: Brianne Nadeau,Ward 1; Brandon Todd, Ward 4; Robert White, At-large) will conduct a Public Roundtable on Tuesday, December 7 to consider the nomination of Richard Beverly to the DC Public Service Commission (Public Resolution#21-1017, the Public Service Commission, Richard Beverly Confirmation).
November 21, the CUB requests a panel to testify at the Subcommittee Roundtable on December 07; it also requests a copy of the nominees resume.
November 22, the CUB writes to the nominee and requests he meet with the CUB to discuss his views on pursuing the office of Commissioner and his approach to challenges before the PSC.
5. November 30, the CUB meets to discuss the nomination with Council-Member Todd and staff; Subcommittee Chair Allen and staff; and Councilmember Robert White’s staff, to express the CUB’s concerns with the lack of transparency in the nominee selection process conducted by the Mayor’s Office of Talent and Appointments, and submitting the Nominaion at the conclusion of a Council Period.
6. December 1, the CUB met with Councilmember Brianne Nadeau’s staff.
7. December 7, Joyce Robinson-Paul, Peter Espenschied, Robert Robinson, Judi Jones and and Lenwood Johnson testified before Subcommittee Charles Allen’s Subcommittee. Councilmember Nadeau was the only subcommittee member other than Chairperson Allen to attend the Roundtable. Chairperson Allen recommends that Nominee Beverly and the CUB meet to discuss the nomination as soon as possible. Both parties agree.
8. December 9, the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Talent and Appointments contacts the CUB Chair and demands to participate in the dialogue between the CUB and Mr. Beverly. The CUB declines his offer.
9. December 12, CUB members and CUB partner, Anya Schoolman, founder of DC SUN, met with Mr. Beverly to discuss his interest in the nomination and how he plans to address the challenges before the PSC. Most of us were impressed by Mr. Beverly’s straightforward responses and his commitment to keeping an open-door policy with the CUB. Two key questions remained: (1) did Mr. Beverly realize how serious ratepayers found the utilities’ problems of performance and accountability, and, (2) did he likewise understand how poorly ratepayers were being service by the PSC’s existing regulatory processes? The CUB will continue to meet with Mr. Beverly to gain more clarity on these matters*.
10. December 13, the CUB notified the Subcommittee on Local Business Development and Utilities that they were impressed by the candidate’s qualifications but were unable to to take a position on the Nomination.
11. December 14, the Subcommittee on Local Business Development and Utilities voted to endorse Beverly’s nomination.
12. December 20, the Council’s Committee of the Whole approves the nomination.
I’d like to thank all of the CUB members and DC SUN for helping us conduct the very important discussion with Mr. Beverly.
Robert Robinson, Chair
DC Consumer Utility Board
Post-Divestiture and Restructuring: A Chronology of Events
1998: NARUC rates Pepco among US’s “cheapest electricity providers”
1999 - Pepco divests: sells generation facilities to Mirant; announces “laser-like focus on distribution system”
• DC Public Service Commission Chair touts divestiture claiming lower prices and greater competition from deregulated markets.
• People’s Counsel warns that electricity markets benefit wholesale, not retail, i.e., residential customers.
• Pepco promises that electric service reliability and services to rate payers would not suffer, few were met.
2000 - DC government chooses not to include DC residents in electricity aggregation plans for city agencies closing-off possibility of lower rates for residents if Mirant fails.
2001 -Pepco forms Pepco Holdings Inc. (PHI).
2001 - PHI enters aircraft leasing business, and purchases an Internet Service Provider, Starpower. Exits both businesses, after losing hundreds of millions of dollars.
2003 - PHI acquires Connectiv Power Delivery (Delmarva Power and Atlantic City Electric).
2003 - Mirant, files for bankruptcy, former Pepco generation facilities no longer provide power for DC.
2003 - Pepco automates Customer Service, reduces spending on maintenance, equipment replacement and tree-trimming, pays out record dividends; top execs reap multimillion pay-and-compensation packages.
2003 - Hurricane Isabel, September 18: 75% of Pepco, DC & MD service area lose power.
2004 - January 4, PHI files James Lee Witt Associates report Hurricane Isabel Response Assessment it notes that Pepco regards outages as “utility events” rather than “customer events.”
2005 - 2010: DC rate payers see electricity costs (regulated by FERC, not DC’s PSC) double.
2007 - Pepco releases its “Blueprint for the Future”, lacking an implementation plan, nothing happens.
2007 - Pepco Distribution Rate Increase Request (FC 1053) for $50.5 million: $28.2 granted by PSC.
2009 - Pepco reliability ranked in bottom quartile among US municipalities. It remains there until Pepco withdraws from IEEE ranking project in 2012. Pepco now rates itself on its reliability.
2009 - Pepco Distribution Rate increase Request (FC 1076) for $51.7 million: $19.8 granted by PSC.
2009 - Council moves PR18-0311 Advanced Metering Infrastructuring Resolution in 2009 to obtain $100 million in taxpayer (ARRA) funding to buy Pepco SmartMeters. Pepco saves money by reducing staff and metering software, but benefits to ratepayers have yet to materialize, while billing chaos continues.
2010 - SnowMageddon, February 5 - 6 widespread power outages, now lasting days: response and restoration similar to 2003’s Hurricane Isabel.
2010 - February, Council Committee on Public Services & Consumer Affairsconducts hearing on Pepco’s Storm Restoration and Reliability during Snowmageddon. No Council action results.
2010 - December 5: Why Pepco Can’t Keep the Lights On, Washington Post reports DC experiences 70% more outages than US cities surveyed, that last twice as long as others surveyed; document Pepco Reliability Rankings are among lowest in the US.
2011 - June, Business Insider magazine ranks Pepco “America’s Most Hated Corporation” (American Customer Satisfaction Index).
2012 - Pepco Distribution Rate Increase Request (FC 1087) for $42.5 million: $24.4 granted.
2012 - June 29, Derechos Storm leaves 387,000 Pepco customers without power for 1 week plus., Pepco’s storm response and restoration proves even worse than Hurricane Isabel and Snowmageddon.
2012 - July 13, Council’s Public Services & Consumer Affairs Committee conducts hearing on Pepco response to Derecho. IBEW President Jim Griffin reported Pepco employs 58% of the linemen it employed twenty years ago. No Council action results.
2012 - October 29, Hurricane Sandy grazes DC, lands in New Jersey devastating NJ/NY/CT.
2012 - Pepco residents now measure power outages by # of outages annually and weeks/days/minutes-per out age. By contrast, Germans experience only 9 minutes per year without power.
2000 - 2013
• DCs electric rates increase by 61% in comparison to costs-of-living increases of38%.
• Pepco employment dropped from 2563 to 1471, a loss of nearly 6 jobs in 10; DC residents employed by Pepco fell from 234 to 103, a loss of nearly 5 jobs in 10.
• DC’s low-income residents, twice as likely to experience disconnects for arrears in payment in 2006, become three times as likely to be disconnected in 2013.
2013 - Pepco files Distribution Rate Increase Request (FC 1103) for $58.2 million
2013 - December, Council of DC enacts Electric Company Infrastructure ImprovementFinancing Act of 2013. This $1 billion project will cost ratepayers up to $12 per month more for decades to pay financing for cost of undergrounding remaining Pepco’s primary electrical distribution system feeder lines. Although Pepco will spend no investor money on this project, it will significantly increase the value of its distribution assets.
2014 - March 25, DC Public Service Commission grants Pepco $28 million of the revised $44 million 2013 distribution rate increase request. $100.4 million in distribution rate increases to rate payers since 2008.
2014 - March 25, PHI Holdings’ Annual Report represents Chair and CEO Joseph Rigby indicates Pepco seek annual distribution rate increases.
2014 - May 7, PHI Holdings announces sale of Pepco to Illinois’ Exelon.
2014 - February, PSC issues order in FC Nos. 1086 and 1109 denying Pepco’s “Advance Metering Enabled Dynamic Pricing program” because it would use Advanced Metering (paid for by ratepayers) to make Dynamic Pricing (designed to save ratepayers costs) result in higher costs to ratepayers.
2014 - June 18, PHI and Exelon file documents with DC Public Service Commission for “merger” in which Exelon will pay $6.83 billion in cash for Pepco, $2.5 billion payout to shareholders and Pepco exectives — top 5 Pepco Holdings managers to reap roghly $80 million — DC ratepayers to receive $14 one-time payment
2014 - July, despite dubious PSC claims of improved reliability, rate payer outrage at Pepco’s power outages, predatory billing, non-existent customer service, and dysfunctional energy efficiency programs continue to boil in online reviews. See: http://m.yelp.com/biz/pepco-washington
2016 - March 23, DC Publilc Service Commission approves twice-rejected Pepco-Exelon by 2-1 vote, Commission Chair Betty Ann Kane dissents.
2016 - June 30, Pepco files for $85.47 distribution rate increase.
2016 - 1999’s promises to ratepayers of “cheapest and most reliable”, and cheaper electricity through increased competition close as Pepco, battered by failing reliability, poor customer service and no business model but a high profitability buoyed by cost-recovery and rate stabilization regulatory subsidies, is taken over by the US’s largest nuclear generator whose mission is to sell its energy at the highest price, kill the competition and halt the use of wind and solar power.