The District won’t be studying the creation of a city-owned power company after all. Despite residents’ grievances with Pepco (and the potential that a pending takeover will make it all worse), the D.C. Council voted today to pull $250,000 meant to study the creation of a public power utility that could replace Pepco.
Instead, according to the amendment from At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds, the money will go toward “emerging alternatives” for energy and promoting energy efficiency.
On the dais, the amendment’s supporters accused Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh of trying to use the study to interfere with Chicago-based Exelon’s takeover of Pepco. (Of course, interfering with the merger might not be such a bad idea.)
That didn’t sit well with Cheh, who accused Pepco of pushing the legislation to “strangle this attempt in the nursery.”
“This is plainly a Pepco amendment, lobbied by Pepco representatives,” Cheh said. “Pepco’s fingerprints are all over it.”
Cheh’s pleas didn’t stop the amendment from succeeding 7-6, with Bonds, Jack Evans, Brandon Todd, Kenyan McDuffie, Yvette Alexander, LaRuby May, and former Pepco exec Vincent Orange voting in favor of it.
After the vote, Cheh sent a press release blaming the redirected funds on Pepco influence “which runs through our entire government.” Examples of that influence, in Cheh’s telling, include councilmembers who took Pepco campaign contributions, Pepco executive-turned-top Muriel Bowser advisor Beverly Perry, and Orange himself.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery