Mark Segraves

Pepco Begins 7-Year Project to Put DC Power Lines Underground

Pepco launched a massive project in the District to place power lines underground.

Every time there’s a big storm, people lose electricity, and it’s usually because power lines and transformers get knocked down.

In the summer of 2012, a derecho hit the D.C. area, leaving hundreds of thousands without power.

“It was one of the most destructive and deadliest fast-moving severe thunderstorm complexes in history,” Pepco Holdings CEO and President Dave Velazquez said.

That’s when the planning to move power lines and transformers in the District underground began.

“Once complete, we expect this project will decrease storm-related outages by 94 percent,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said.

Over the next seven years, construction crews will move power lines and transformers from atop street poles to vaults beneath the street in neighborhoods all across the city.

When construction comes to your street, first you’ll get a door hanger. Then no parking signs will go up. Then you’ll see marking on the street where transformers and power lines will be buried.

Each street will take about a month, but your electric bill will change for the next 16 years

The half-billion-dollar project will be paid for by taxpayers and Pepco customers.

For residential customers, the monthly charge will start out at about $1.20 and go up to about $2 a month over time. Commercial customers will have a fee based on power usage. That charge will stay on electric bills for 16 years.

Some sidewalks and green spaces, including some trees, will have to be excavated, but sidewalks and landscaping will all be replaced.

The project begins in upper Northwest. You can track it here.

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