Pepco protesters ‘bury’ new rate hike, New Orleans-style

The coffin-carrying funeral march in D.C. Monday included a jazz band and protesters decked out in Mardi Gras garb.

Andrew Mollenbeck,

WASHINGTON – A New Orleans-style funeral procession, complete with a coffin and a jazz band, paraded through D.C. Monday.

But the purpose of the march may not have been clear to those sitting in traffic or meeting for lunch: fighting Pepco’s proposed rate hikes.

Dozens of protesters dressed in Mardi Gras garb made their way to the Public Service Commission for a hearing on Pepco’s proposed $42.5 million rate hike. The commission must approve the request before it can go into effect.

“We say, ‘Bury it New Orleans style,'” one of the protesters said along the way. “We’re going to celebrate the death of this rate hike that they don’t need.”

Pepco said it needs to raise rates to replace old equipment and improve service reliability for its customers.

The increase would work out to about $5.50 per customer each month.

“I can’t afford the bill now,” another protester says. “I have a family. I have two children I’m trying to get into college eventually. I have no money.”

Monday’s evidentiary hearing was part of the multi-step process to determine if the proposed rates are reasonable.

Commissioners are expected to issue a decision before the end of summer.

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