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?