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Pepco Working on Underground Power Lines in D.C.

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Credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

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WASHINGTON (WNEW) — It’s been just over two years since the derecho left 1.5 million people in our area without power, and Pepco is outlining when D.C. residents can expect new underground power lines to be installed in the city.

The company and DDOT hope to start cutting down trees and digging up the streets by next spring. Pepco is prioritizing the most troublesome feeders in Wards 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8. Most feeders in Wards 1, 2 and 6 are already buried.

Caryn Bacon, Pepco’s director of underground projects, says the project “offers a significant amount of reliability benefits.”

By the end of next year, more than 6,000 customers should have more reliable service. That number should top 28,000 within three years.

A pair of new surcharges will help cover the $1 billion project. For the average residential customer, the charges will add up to about $1.50 a month at first and peak around $3.25 a month over the next seven years.

The DC PLUG initiative, as it’s called, will be financed through a combination of Pepco investment ($500 million), funding from the District through DDOT Capital Improvement funds ($62 million) and funds from District-issued bonds ($375 million).

Six community hearings about the project are scheduled over the next two weeks. The Public Service Commission could approve the plan as early as October.

WNEW D.C. Bureau Chief Matt DelSignore contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.

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