Pepco customers weighed in on the utility’s plans for the next few years in the first of a series of public hearings.
Part of the multiyear plan is a rate hike. The average customer’s bill would go up to $5.80 a month starting in 2023.
Customer Andrea Williams spoke at the virtual public hearing Monday night. She said she thinks Pepco is already, in her words, “gouging customers.”
“If they’re not using the money wisely, then the customers should not be paying for them not doing what they are supposed to do with the funds they are receiving,” Williams said.
Over the next few years, Pepco plans to improve the infrastructure for electric vehicles and upgrade streetlights to LED technology, which uses less energy.
Customer Brandon Bellamy spoke in favor of those ideas. “That’s where everything’s going; obviously, it’s great for the environment.”
Kevin McGowan, vice president of regulatory policy and strategy for Pepco Holdings, said the rate increases would also help the utility continue to improve customer care.
But Pepco customer Louis Wilen criticized Pepco’s phone call response time. He claimed state code requires that Pepco route calls from customers to an actual person, not a machine, in about 30 seconds most of the time.
Wilen said that in his experience, it’s more like three minutes. He said the Pepco system is too complicated, adding, “In my mind, I think it’s designed to make it as hard as possible for customers to actually reach a live person.”
The next opportunity for the public to comment on the plan is Thursday, April 15 at 6 p.m.