Hundreds protest rate hike, service at Pepco HQs

(Photo: Tom Roussey)

Hundreds of people demonstrated outside Pepco headquarters in NW D.C. Thursday afternoon to protest a proposed rate hike and leveled other complaints at the large utility company.

Organized by the group Our DC, protesters vented their anger for about an hour at Pepco.

Pepco's request to raise rates between $5-6 per month on the average customer isn't all the protesters are angry about.

In a news release, Our DC summed up the list of complaints: “Fed up with obscene executive compensation, poor service, exploiting loopholes to avoid income taxes, and profiteering at the expense of customers, D.C. citizens are demanding Pepco withdraw its $42.5 million dollar rate hike request, cut top executives' pay in half, and pledge to dedicate the utility company's multimillion-dollar tax return to infrastructure improvement and job creation.”

Protesters were denied a requested meeting with Pepco CEO Joe Rigby, who received $8.8 million in compensation between 2008-2010, according to Our DC.

During that same time, they say, Pepco’s officers earned more than $22 million and Pepco reported $882 million in profits. Pepco paid no federal and state income taxes and received $817 million in tax refunds, according to the Our DC statement.

Pepco company reps wouldn't go on camera with ABC7, but one said they want a rate increase to make their service more reliable, and improve technology and customer service.

They say they're going to spend about $100 million per year to do that.

"We’re here to talk about the $42 million rate increase," a protester said.

Our DC plans more protests when Pepco appears at the Washington Public Service Commission evidentiary hearing on Jan. 30 to defend its rate hike request.

The protests took place at the Pepco office in the 700 block of 9th Street NW.