Pepco's Thomas Graham Visits The Washington Informer

WI Staff Report | 2/22/2012, 12:36 p.m.

Pepco Region President Thomas Graham sat down recently with the publisher and staff of The Washington Informer. He talked about everything from reliability to smart meters to rate adjustments to taxes. Accompanied by Manager of Media Relations and Pepco Spokesman Bob Hainey and Felicia Greer, the company's new Customer Advocate, Graham was articulate, engaging and candid. We spoke with Graham and his team for several hours. Here is the beginning of that conversation. Look for more of our conversation Thomas Graham in future issues of this newspaper and online at washingtoninformer.com.

WI: A lot of people don't know that Pepco is much more than just Washington D.C. and even Prince George's County. It's connected to a system and it's been around a while. Would you just talk about that:

Pepco/Graham: Pepco is celebrating its 116th year this year. We serve 789,000 customers in all of the District of Columbia and the majority of Prince Georges County and Montgomery County. We are part of a larger company called Pepco Holdings [Inc.] and Pepco Holdings serves about 1.9 million customers between here and southern New Jersey. So, we are considered a power delivery company--we are responsible for poles and wires.

There are three power delivery companies as part of Pepco Holdings. We have Pepco, Delmarva Power that serves the Eastern Shore and the state of Delaware and then Atlantic City Electric which serves the southern t part of new jersey and those three entities are regulated. And there is a fourth piece--Pepco Energy Services--which is an unregulated business that deals with energy performance and primarily works with a lot of large commercial customers.

Pepco is more than just a utility. We are a part of the community . We're an economic driver. We create jobs. Right now, we're very much focused on energy efficiency trying to provide those tools to empower our customers to control energy costs.

The District of Columbia has a sustainable energy utility, so it primarily has that responsibility. But in Maryland for the 551,000 customers we serve there. They have what they call "EmPOWER Maryland" programs, It's a series of energy efficiency programs. Back in 2007 we had this vision, The vision was a blueprint for the future of an entire cadre of energy efficiency programs. Then, our CEO started talking to us about something called "smart meters" and AMI [Advanced Meter Infrastructure].

We weren't really sure what that was, but he knew what that was and what we were going to do and that's what we've been executing since 2007. So, it was unclear what the future of the cost would be, because there is some cost associated it, but as we moved along and President Obama introduced a stimulus package, there became an opportunity to fund up to 50 percent of that project and we were fortunate enough to be awarded $150 million which really cut the cost in half for our customers both in the District of Columbia and in Maryland. But I want to talk about reliability. I think that's on a lot of people's minds right now.