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FAQ

Why is there not a DC PLUG project in my neighborhood?

DC PLUG is all about enhancing reliability and resiliency in our community by undergrounding 20 feeders across Wards 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8. This initiative aims to significantly reduce the impact of outages, with a potential effectiveness of up to 95%. So far, we've successfully undergrounded two feeders, with another expected to be in service later this year. Over the next decade, we plan to continue this effort by working on the remaining 17 feeders. As of now we are focusing on the 20 worst feeders.

What is the DC PLUG initiative?

The DC Power Line Undergrounding (DC PLUG) initiative is a multi-year program focused on the underground placement of the most vulnerable distribution power lines. About half of the District of Columbia is already served by underground power lines.

Why do we need the DC PLUG initiative?

In the face of increasingly severe storms, the DC PLUG initiative will improve the system’s resiliency — hardening it against major storm events, with the added benefit of further improving reliability of the electric system.

What is a feeder?

A feeder is an electric power line that distributes power to up to 1,100 customers within a specific geographic area.

How will the DC PLUG initiative benefit the District of Columbia?

In addition to improving reliability and resiliency for customers, who are served by the selected feeders, other District of Columbia residents will also benefit from greater reliability and resiliency of the distribution system as a result of the initiative.

The DC PLUG initiative will contribute to the economy of the District of Columbia by stimulating economic growth through job creation with the commitment to hiring District of Columbia residents and contractors.

When will construction for the DC PLUG initiative begin?

With Public Service Commission approval of our plan, construction began in May 2019. Construction related to the initiative is expected to span 6-8 years with activities taking place at different times in the affected wards.

Where will the DC PLUG initiative construction occur?

Our plan calls for construction on selected primary mainline and primary lateral portions of feeders underground in Wards 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8.

The electric distribution system in Wards 1, 2 and 6 is already largely underground.

Where can I see the construction schedule?

Construction schedules by ward are available at dcpluginfo.com.

Will the DC PLUG initiative construction occur in Wards 1, 2 and 6?

The electric distribution system in Wards 1, 2 and 6 is already largely underground.

How is the DC PLUG initiative funded?

The DC PLUG initiative is a $500 million project and is jointly funded by Pepco and the District. The

Pepco-funded portion is $250 million, and the District will fund $187.5 million. Up to an additional $62.5 million will come from the District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) capital improvement budget.

What charge will be included in my bill if I'm a homeowner?

Pepco customer bills will include two annually adjusted charges to recover the costs of the $250 million in Pepco funding and $187.5 million in District funding. These surcharges are provided for by the legislation that effectuated the DC PLUG initiative.

Estimated monthly DC PLUG surcharges for a typical residential customer:

Underground Project Charge (UPC)

2022 $0.03

2023 $0.08

Underground (UG) Rider

2022 $0.84

2023 $0.91

Average surcharge based on 692 kwh per month

I am a Residential Aid Discount customer. Will I be exempt from the charges associated with the DC PLUG initiative?

Residential Aid Discount customers are exempt from the charges.

How do I get a job working on the DC PLUG initiative?

The DC PLUG initiative creates the opportunity for new work to be performed by District contractors, and we work with our contractors to ensure compliance with local hiring requirements. The DDOT and Pepco project oversight team includes staff who monitor the initiative to ensure contractors are complying with District of Columbia hiring requirements. You can learn more by visiting DC PLUG website dcpluginfo.com.

What impact can residents and businesses near construction expect during the DC PLUG initiative construction?

We recognize that you and your household or business are likely to experience disruption during construction in your Ward. This might include road and sidewalk closures, relocation of bus stops, changes in garbage pick-up schedules, access to parking garages and handicapped ramps, and rerouting of bicycle lanes. We make every effort to minimize the inconvenience.

Individual yards may experience disturbance of sod, plants, and fences. We communicate early and often in accordance with the outreach plan filed by the DC PLUG initiative team with the Public Service Commission.

Will you take precautions to minimize the impact on seniors and individuals with disabilities?

Yes. We will pay special attention to the needs of seniors and we will work in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

How will you minimize the impact on traffic around construction sites?

We are coordinating with DDOT to create traffic control plans that help ensure the public and our workers are safe, while keeping disruptions to a minimum. Proper flagging and signage is used to minimize traffic delays. As crews work, we ask customers to remain clear of worksites so crews may work safely, efficiently, and effectively, and for the safety of residents. Cyclists are urged to take extra caution on the roads in these areas.

How do you protect neighborhood trees?

We are mindful of the need to protect neighborhood trees and, if needed, will conduct careful evaluation of tree relocation and removal. Our team will continue to coordinate with certified arborists from DDOT’s Urban Forestry Division to ensure the protection and maintenance of vegetation.

How will you communicate with residents and businesses about the DC PLUG initiative work?

We communicate early and often about the initiative and its expected impact on communities on the DC PLUG initiative website, dcpluginfo.comWe hold a series of outreach meetings and meet with Advisory Neighborhood Commissions. We’re happy to come speak to any community groups to provide information, just let us know at questions@dcpluginfo.com. We also provide door hanger materials, neighborhood signage, and make fact sheets available in libraries.

Will my power be shut off for the DC PLUG initiative construction?

It is possible. Temporary service interruptions may be necessary to safely complete some work. We use the same scheduled outage notification process that Pepco regularly uses. This includes notification at least three days prior to outage. If you need to report an outage, contact Pepco at 1-877-737-2662, by visiting pepco.com or by using the Pepco mobile app.

Who should I contact if there’s an issue with the road or sidewalk?

You can visit DDOT’s website to request repairs at http://ddot.dc.gov/page/request-repairs.

What is a biennial plan?

A biennial plan is a detailed proposal that identifies a group of overhead electrical distribution feeders that the DC PLUG initiative would like to underground over a two-year period.

What happens during the planning phase?

A feeder in the planning phase has been proposed and the DC PLUG team is seeking a qualified design team to establish the design.

What happens during the design phase?

After the planning phase is complete, a DC PLUG appointed design firm will begin to determine the scale of work.

What happens during the construction phase?

A feeder in the construction phase means a contractor has been awarded and the ground has been broken.

How was the DC PLUG initiative established?

In August 2012, an order by the mayor established the Mayor’s Power Line Undergrounding Task Force, which was charged with evaluating options that would prevent extended electric distribution service outages caused by significant weather events. The 18-member panel included government officials, regulators, local utility industry executives and residents of neighborhoods often affected by power outages.

The Task Force in May 2013 presented a recommendation for a unique partnership between Pepco and DDOT to underground select primary electric lines. The Electric Company Infrastructure Improvement Financing Act of 2014 became law on May 3, 2014, and was further amended on May 17, 2017 (as amended, Undergrounding Act).

In accordance with the Act, Pepco and DDOT filed the initial joint Biennial Plan on July 3, 2017, covering the two-year period 2018-2019. Pepco and DDOT file these plans every two years. The final plan has been submitted and approved. Under the Biennial Plan, DDOT primarily will construct the underground facilities and Pepco primarily will install the underground electric distribution for the feeders approved through the biennial plans filed with the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia.

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