Electric and Energy in Washington, DC

By Shawna Mizelle

Ward 8A’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting was last Thursday the 23rd at the Specialty Hospital of Washington covering a Pepco and Exelon merger and many more environmental issues. Attendance included D.C. Ward 8 city councilman, Trayon White and D.C. People’s Counsel Sandra Mattavous-Frye who played a large role in shaping the conversation.

 

Washington D.C. People’s Counsel exist to advocate, educate, and protect consumers. They also work hand in hand with local forms of government including the Advisory Neighborhood Commission. Office of the People’s Counsel has been advising Ward 8’s ANC on utility issues that all consumers are facing.

 

The Pepco and Exelon merger was also a topic of interest, but they aren’t the only electric and gas company looking to combine. More attention was drawn to the Canadian company, ALTAGas proposing a merger with Washington Gas. The companies plan to apply for the merger by the end of March or early April through the D.C. Public Service Commission. After that the SCPSC will hold community and evidentiary hearings where companies advocate for why the merger should take place. When these proceedings end the Public Service Commission will make the final decision on whether or not the merger will go through. If the merger passes, ATLAGas plans to keep all DC locations and employees.

 

The Office of the People’s Counsel advocate said Doxie McCoy, “We must assess whether the impact on the community will be positive or negative.” This would not be first time the Office has had to asses Washington Gas in particular. The Office of the People’s Counsel has been collecting complaints on unusually high Washington Gas bills. A press release on February 24, 2017 stated, “OPC, addressing complaints on a case-by-case basis, has reported the concerns to WGL and is determining if a formal investigation by the DC Public Service Commission is warranted.” Office of the Peoples Counsel representative Lawrence Jones said, “It was normal for gas and electric prices to rise during the winter chill, but there has been an unusually warm winter in DC thus far.” The high on February 23rd was 77 degrees, setting the record for the warmest winter day, and breaking the record from 1985.

 

Another attendant of the meeting was Graylin Presbury. Presbury is the president of The DC Federation of Civic Associations. Graylin Presbury liked the open discussion, “From being able to ask questions I was able to explore topics I didn’t quite understand before.” Sometimes we all struggle to understand solar power, and mergers—which is why we must ask questios. Now DC residents must ask themselves a question. How is the ever-changing environmental climate effecting us all?

 

 

Missing in the Nation

                                                  By Shawna Mizelle

#BringBackOurGirls is the hashtag that swept the nation once false reports surfaced that 14 girls went missing in our nation’s capital on March 23, 2017. The reports shaped a much needed discussion and drew attention to Missing White Woman Syndrome. The “Missing White Woman Syndrome” is a term coined by the late PBS news anchor, Gwen Ifill, referring to the media’s deficiency of reporting missing minorities as much as they report upper-class white women.

From March 19th to March 24th Many residents of the Washington, D.C. community expressed their outrage for the media’s lack of coverage in regards to the missing children. So far in 2017, 534 juveniles have been reported missing in DC. Of those juvenile cases, 14 are still currently missing. A lot of the missing children including Leonna Lewis, Heaven Shamte, Shanian Boyd, and Zyaire Flemmings disappeared from the Southeast area of Washington, DC.  Although limited resources may play a role in the families’ access to the news, the statistics that drew the attention of LL Cool J, Zendaya, and Eva Marcille on social media were blown out of proportion. Between March 19th and March 24th a dozen children were reported missing in D.C.; however, post claiming that 14 girls went missing in 24 hours went viral after celebrities like Russel Simmons shared it. Although the post was inaccurate, it caused major consequences. The error and outrage highlights a clear disconnect between the news, the police force, and the community. The miscommunication came from the DC’s police department increasing social media post of missing children.

Regardless of the false reports, many have continued to voice their discontent with the police department’s effectiveness. Backlash towards the police department furthered after Chanel Dickerson, the new Youth and Family services commander, advised people trying to avoid human trafficking to just, “Stay home.” while being interviewed on the Joe Clair Morning Show.

The D.C. Police Department said, “MPD takes all of its missing persons cases seriously and is committed to ensuring that each case receives the same level of police service and exposure.  We all recognize that when someone is missing, there is a risk that they are in danger and need our help. Juveniles or other critical missing persons may be at risk of victimization or may be in need of vital medication.  That is why we are working hard to reunite all missing persons with their loved ones.  Our 2017 numbers are similar to 2016 and we hope the increased awareness in the public will get us to a 100% closure rate.”

Other conversations have also sparked questioning white feminist’s presence, or lack thereof, during this cause, and the Women’s March on Washington. The Women’s March on Washington drew close to 5 million people of various backgrounds.

Many people shared a photo of a townhall meeting at Excel Academy Public Charter School in Southeast D.C., in regards to the missing girls, which shows a large crowd made up of mostly black people. Longtime community member and DC school teacher, John Wiley, says, “Working in the school system you see missing kids coming to school, just not going home. It is the community’s responsibility to know where our children are and address these issues.”

The police department encourages the community coming together to come together as well to help bring back our children. “The community can continue sharing MPD’s flyers via social media and call 911 or 202-727-9099 immediately if you see an individual you recognize from one of the flyers”, said Aquita Brown the public affairs specialist.