August 14, 2020
Washington, DC - In testimony filed today before the DC Public Service Commission (PSC), People's Counsel Sandra Mattavous Frye opposes Washington Gas Light's request for a $35.2 million rate increase, $9.1 million of which are increases stemming from the company's PROJECTpipes accelerated gas pipeline replacement program. Should the Commission approve this request, it would increase the average residential bill by almost $13 per month.
"An increase of this magnitude would further exacerbate the utility energy burden consumers are coping with during the COVID-19 pandemic," said the People's Counsel. "WGL's proposed rate increase is excessive, improperly shifts the company's business risk to its ratepayers and otherwise seeks rate increases in connection with PROJECTpipes despite lackluster performance and uneven benefits for consumers."
After a thorough review of the utility's 1,600-page application, and engaging in an aggressive campaign to force Washington Gas to provide full and accurate information to support its proposals, OPC has determined that the proposed rate increases and plans are not in the public interest because they: (1) increase customer bills by almost 17%; (2) unfairly shift business risk from WGL to its ratepayers through its Revenue Adjustment Mechanism, that allows WGL to recover lost revenues due to decreases in gas sales resulting from energy efficiency or warmer winter weather; (3) seek recoupment of costs for operation of the PROJECTpipes accelerated pipeline replacement program that has not given ratepayers measurable benefits; and (4) show no evidence of true support of the District's climate action goals during the test year.
OPC has further determined that WGL is entitled to no more than $6.5 Million in additional revenues.
"OPC has, and will continue to vigorously oppose any utility proposal that harms consumers and does not clearly advance the District's environmental goals and modernization policies," said People's Counsel Mattavous-Frye.