Friday, July 17, 2009

So what are you saying???

Does anyone remember the Fox News story about residents that had a spike in the electricity bills from PEPCO? Well I was one of those customers. My January 2008 bill was around $82. My January 2009 bill was $197. Yes that is an increase of 240%. Mind you, between Winter 2008 and Winter 2009, if nothing else, I became more energy conscious. Not to mention that I sleep well in a cold room, so I keep the temperature around 62 degrees.

I called PEPCO and this woman tried to tell me that it has been an unusually cold winter. I told her that explanation defies logic. Had my bill increase by 20-30%, I might buy that explanation. Then she tried to say maybe it was my refrigerator. If we were face-to-face she would have gotten the side eye. Realizing that she is programmed to only give certain answers, it was a waste of my time to continue the conversation.

I contacted the DC Office of the People's Counsel regarding their investigation of PEPCO. I gave them all my PEPCO billing information for the past year. At the beginning of this week, they issued a report of their findings: Formal Case No. 1071 In the Matter of the Investigation of the High Energy Bills of the Potomac Electric Power Company - OPC Report on Unusually High Bill Investigation.

Here are the major findings:
  • There is no direct correlation between high PEPCO bills and the 2008-2009 rate increases, arrearages, or weather related increases in consumption
  • There is no discernable pattern in the high meter readings regarding ward demographics
  • Random faulty meters may account for the high bill readings for more than 43%
  • Middle and low-income consumers alike faced financial difficulty in paying their high winter bills
  • More than 50% of the customers live in homes with no one home during the daytime.
  • The type of residential unit or prior arrearages did not play a major role in creating or accelerating high electric bills
  • The temperature during winter 2008-2009 was somewhat colder than 2007-2008 winter, but (wait for it...wait for it) the maximum increase in electricity consumption due to temperature in the 2008-2009 winter compared with the 2007-2008 winter is about 15%.

That last one really hits home with me, because PEPCO tried to say that my consumption increased by 200%. Despite the fact that I'm never home, despite the fact that I have energy efficient lighting, and despite the fact I took the time to winterize my condo, they are trying to say I used more than twice the amount of energy because it was a few degrees colder. Right. Magically once Office of the People's Counsel announced their investigation, my March and April bills dropped to around $15... Things that make you go hmmmmmmmmm.

So Office of the People's Counsel said it indirectly with their fancy words, but let me break it down. PEPCO tried to pull the "okie-doke" and tried to lie about it. Plain and simple

Buy Wards 7 and 8 Challenge

  • $39 for gas from the Exxon on Penn Ave and Branch Ave
  • $5 for dinner at Pollo Rico in Arlington... Yeah I know, but it was calling me. Ward 7 needs a Pollo Rico. It's chicken and everyone likes chicken. It's only $5 for 1/4 chicken with french fries and cole slaw.

Total $296.75 in Wards 7/8. $333.91 total (89% in Ward 7/8)


  1. Ms. V you're doing great on your spending in Ward 7/8. I for one, am not. Grocery store spending, check. And thats about it. I admit, I've cut spending drastically, due to being unemployed the first part of this year, but the rest of my money is spent on books (we don't have a bookstore that I'm aware of) and going out for drinks with friends. Where to do that in 7/8? Recommendations?

  2. As far as I know, there is no where to get a drink with friends in Wards 7/8. That is SAD. Closest bookstore is in Capitol Hill