Setting the Renewable Record Straight

I’ll start by saying today has been an interesting one…

So my day started with a call from one of the newspapers here in town asking about a “Pepco” notice left on his door at home. I put Pepco in quotes because the letter wasn’t from Pepco.

Let’s just say, we’ve been Punk’d. More importantly, so have many of our customers, and we want to set the record straight.

Apparently an activist group decided to play a little April fool’s joke on us by fabricating a letter, on Pepco letterhead, to our customers containing false information about our support for renewable energy sources. The letter stated that we were shifting our energy mix to 100% renewable sources. It also said customers may be eligible for a renewable energy rate adjustment, and that folks should call our Customer Care group for more information. Just as I hung-up the phone, I did a quick check of the Twitterverse and I saw this tweet: “Have you heard? Pepco is making the shift to wind and solar energy! Pepco is going green! http://www.pepco-green.com.” Since I’d never heard of a new web page, you can understand I was more than a little curious. I followed the link and while the site looked EXACTLY like ours, its information was COMPLETELY FALSE.

I responded by saying; “Morning! We have a lot of green initiatives, but this site isn’t ours. Thanks for trying to help get the word out though!” There were no correcting tweets. But I soon realized this was part of a non-violent group demonstration centered on fossil fuels.

Since I’ve already said that the false website, and the letter, are complete fabrications, I thought I’d use this April Fools prank to give you a little insight into how Pepco’s business works.

For starters, Pepco does not generate electricity. We used to, but we sold all of our power plants several years ago. Now, we purchase electricity wholesale through an auction process supervised by government regulators in each of our service territories. We then distribute that energy to our customers, or at least the ones who do not choose alternate suppliers. All of the suppliers providing electricity we use are approved by PJM Interconnection, the Regional Transmission Operator in this region and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Keep in mind, customers don’t have to choose Pepco as their supplier.

Any customer who would like to purchase energy from renewable sources is welcome to do so! You can learn more on our real website. Just visit: http://www.pepco.com/home/choice/.

We’re committed to providing customers with affordable electricity from renewable sources. The District of Columbia and Maryland law requires us to increase every year the proportion of energy from renewable resources in our total power supply portfolio. The required percentages are scheduled to increase significantly over the next several years in each jurisdiction. By 2020, more than 20% of our energy will come from renewable sources.

Wind power is one of the more economical renewable energy resources in the mid-Atlantic. Pepco is working hard to include as much cost-effective wind energy in our portfolio as possible, without putting additional cost pressure on customers. Electricity from renewable sources such as wind is somewhat more expensive per kilowatt hour than power generated by traditional methods. As renewable portfolio requirements increase, the price may also increase to meet rising demand. However, technological advances may soon exert downward pressure on those production costs.

Hopefully you found this explanation at least somewhat helpful. Pepco cares about protecting natural resources and will continue supporting renewable energy sources wherever possible.  That said, we are happy to work with customers who are installing solar or wind generation at their residences.  We also offer a range of energy efficiency programs to encourage customers to lower their carbon footprint and conserve energy.

I’d like to close out this post by apologizing to any of our customers who were confused by these April Fool’s letters, or the phony website. If you have any questions or need more details, leave a comment and I’ll follow-up with more posts.

‘Til the next post,

Andre

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About pepcoconnect

Pepco, a subsidiary of Pepco Holdings, Inc., delivers safe, reliable and affordable electric service to more than 788,000 customers in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Pepco is committed to providing its customers with information on energy conservation, renewable energy sources and steps the company is taking to meet customers' changing needs.

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