The Washington Post

A billion dollars to bury the power lines

Damage from last June’s derecho prompted the mayor to appoint the underground power lines task force. (Daniel C. Britt/The Washington Post)

More than three months after it was originally scheduled to finish its work, Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s power line burial task force is finally out with recommendations: Spend up to $1 billion to bury the 60 most troublesome “feeder” lines. Where’s that $1 billion coming from? The vast majority is coming directly from Pepco ratepayers, who would see a burial surcharge appear on their bills — at first, about $1.50 a month on average, rising to about $3.25 monthly by 2020. Pepco Holdings President and CEO Joseph M. Rigby said the plan could have a “very significant” impact on reliability, particularly after severe weather: “What’s been pretty clear to us, in our experience, is that the expectations of customers have shifted. … The tolerance of the customers for any kind of an extended outage is rightly very limited.” The plan awaits approval from the D.C. Council and the Public Service Commission, a process not likely to start before fall.

In other news:

In budget talks, Vincent Orange wins yet another $100,000 for Emancipation Day activities (Post)

Bowser budget moves “show a complete and utter lack of understanding about how economic development works,” says Gray spokesman (Examiner)

David Catania requires a year’s wait on DCPS boundary changes (Post)

More budget minutiae (DCFPI)

Washington Monument scaffolding is complete (Post)

Height Act debate gets off to a rip-roaring start (WAMU-FMHousing Complex)

Michael Davis is ruled competent, will stand trial for hammer attacks (PostHomicide Watch)

Blues Alley tax relief bill gets a hearing (Current via Dish)

Wilson Pool’s brief water bottle ban raised swimmer hackles (WRC-TV)

Russ Ptacek catches cabbies driving past disabled hailers (WUSA-FM)

Support the trades, says Harry Jaffe (Examiner column)

IG raps New York Avenue homeless shelter for security lapses (Examiner)

Will Georgetown remain on the dessert vanguard? (G’town Met)

The average Washington Gas bill will be rising $3 a month (Post)

City’s literacy efforts need to reach those most in need of help (Post letter)

Where the government employees are (DCist)

Fourth arrest made in 2011 slaying of Antwain Henderson (Post)

In D.C., 3.5 percent of all commutes involve bikes (WashCycle)

Suitland Parkway bike trail — did you know there was one? — is a mess (GGW)

Key charter school advocate: still unhappy (Examiner op-ed)

Ian MacKaye’s grandmother was a relationship columnist (HuffPo)

Bryce Harper takes it on the chin (Post)

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.



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Mike DeBonis · May 14, 2013

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