Pepco's Commitment to its Customers Remains Strong

A recent Washington Examiner editorial (Pepco needs to earn its next rate hike, Sept. 15) provides an inaccurate portrayal of why Pepco files rate cases and mischaracterizes our commitments to meeting customer expectations and improving our electric infrastructure.

The editorial asserts that issues with reliability should pre-empt a rate increase. First, our reliability is improving. We began a 5-year, $910 million reliability enhancement plan in 2010. From 2010 to 2011, customers served by upgraded power lines experienced a 39 percent reduction in the average number of outages during regular day-to-day service. When outages occurred, the duration was shorter, declining by 56 percent in 2011 compared to 2010.

Although these improvements will help with blue-sky reliability and help harden our system, they will not prevent outages caused by storms of the magnitude of the June 29 derecho. No overhead system can withstand 100-foot trees crashing onto equipment. That is why we are participating in task forces in the District of Columbia and Maryland on the feasibility of undergrounding all or part of our system. We also are preparing a comprehensive report on undergrounding that we will present to the Maryland Public Service Commission later this fall.

Rate adjustments are not rewards for reliable service. We file rate cases after we make investments on behalf of our customers to provide safe, reliable electric service. We understand the impact of rate adjustments on our customers, however improved reliability, customer service and technological innovations provide better service for customers. Our investments include adding web-based technology, adding and further training customer service representatives, replacing and upgrading electrical equipment, trimming trees and investing in a reliable smart grid.

Adjustments also are used to help us manage increasing demand for power, including system growth and upgrades, enhanced reliability and customer service and investments in new facilities.

We demonstrate our commitment to our customers by making continuous improvements in safety, reliability and infrastructure. We listen to our customers, and we are dedicated to meeting their expectations. We know we must continue to make improvements, so our work continues.

Thomas H. Graham

President, Pepco Region

Re: "Romney gets it all wrong on government dependency," Sept. 20

Mitt Romney never gets it wrong on government dependency, because if elected president, he never planned to move the country forward. He still wants big companies and their lobbyists to be dependent on government. He never planned to represent all the people. He only planned to represent some of the people.

He does not want the middle class and the poor to move forward. He thinks 47 percent of low-income Americans who may have a large family should not be entitled to pay no federal income tax, even though that is the law. That is why he will not tell the voters what plans he has to fix the economy, and what policies he will create, so businesses can employ the millions of unemployed Americans.

Even though it is about 50 days before the general election, and millions of unemployed Americans are diligently waiting on Mitt Romney, the businessperson, to outline his plan to fix the economy, he cannot focus on the economy, and convince the voters that he can fix the economy.

Cargill Kelly