The Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia has approved the Government of the District of Columbia and Pepco’s joint application to commence a multi-year initiative to enhance system reliability and resilience by placing vulnerable distribution power lines underground.
The District of Columbia Power Line Undergrounding (DC PLUG) initiative, a $500 million joint undertaking by the District and Pepco, will benefit customers and contribute to the economic growth of the District through significant job creation. Pepco’s portion is $250 million and the District’s portion is $187.5 million. DDOT will provide up to an additional $62.5 million from its capital improvement budget.
“DC PLUG is part of our commitment to building a safer, stronger, and more resilient DC,” said DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. “This project will strengthen our electrical grid, make power outages less likely during extreme weather events, and create jobs for residents and new opportunities for certified business enterprises and local small businesses.”
The DC PLUG initiative creates the opportunity for new work to be performed by District contractors and a joint advisory team will monitor compliance with DC PLUG local hiring requirements. Exelon and Pepco have pledged $5.2 million as part of the merger commitments toward workforce development programs in the District, including the recently announced DC Infrastructure Academy, efforts focused on equipping workers for success in good paying jobs by providing the technical skills needed to build lasting careers.
"DC PLUG is a significant investment in the reliability of our power supply, the overall strength of our electric grid, and the prosperity of our local economy, all of which benefits our community," said David Velazquez, president and CEO, Pepco Holdings. "Pepco is pleased to work hand-in-hand with the District to enhance our service for all DC families and businesses and ensure our system can meet their needs now and in the future."
The DC PLUG initiative includes plans for placing select power lines underground in Wards 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8 over a six- to eight-year period. With the Public Service Commission’s approval, construction will begin in 2018. In an effort to limit disruption to the local community, Pepco will work to inform local residents and business owners ahead of planned work.