WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- Angry PEPCO customers and consumer activists protested outside DC's Wilson Building and then asked councilmembers to hold the utility accountable for poor service and inaccurate bills.
Justice First Executive Director Crystal Kim also asked for "a moratorium on power cutoffs during the winter months. Residents should not have essential services interrupted by a monopoly."
Other panelists told the council that PEPCO should be denied the rate increase it seeks.
"Why do we take from the needy and give to the greedy?" asked former ANC Commissioner Joyce Robinson Paul.
Herbert Harris, Chair of the DC Consumer Utility Board, told 9NEWS NOW that PEPCO and all utilities "should be held accountable for poor performance and poor customer service." He said area utilities are suffering from degraded infrastructure, unexplainable outages and failures, as well as bad customer service.
9NEWS NOW interviewed PEPCO Regional President Thomas Graham, "We take very seriously our responsibility to provide safe and reliable power to our customers."
Graham added that PEPCO has "a very high capital commitment to infrastructure improvement." This includes about $290 million to install digital meters that would eliminate the need to estimate a customer's usage when access to the meter is restricted. PEPCO expects to begin installing these meters by the end of this year and have the meters online by 2013.
Written by Armando Trull
9NEWS NOW & wusa9.com