WASHINGTON (WNEW) — Pepco and the D.C. Department of Transportation have been given the go-ahead to start phase one of a 10-year plan to move power lines across the city underground.

The first phase runs over the next three years — the first project will start next spring. In all, Public Service Commission Chair Betty Anne Kane says this will happen across five wards in the District.

“About half the city is already underground and so know we’re going to be trying to even it out for the other part of the city,” Kane says.

Kane adds they’ve approved a surcharge for Pepco to recoup some of the costs. Starting January, homeowners will see on average a 17-cent increase per month on their bill but that will grow as more projects begin.

“Looking to the maximum charge over the seven years on the bills for residential customers, probably be between $3 to $3.50 a month,” Kane says.

According to the Public Service Commission, an Underground Project Charge was approved to recover Pepco’s costs and capping the total amount at $42.472 million for the initial Triennial Underground Infrastructure Improvement Projects Plan. 21 projects were approved in Wards 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8.

The full undergrounding project is expected to extend for a period of 7-10 years at a total cost of approximately $1 billion, officials say.

Public Service Commission officials say they expect that the project will “greatly enhance the reliability and resilience of the electric distribution system as well as minimize the impact of more frequent severe weather events on electric distribution customers in the District.”

WNEW’s Cameron Thompson contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.

 

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