Pepco's Thomas Graham Visits The Washington Informer
WI Staff Report | 2/22/2012, 12:36 p.m.
WI: I think so. When that report came out last year from The Washington Post, lambasting the organization and putting the organization at a basement level in terms of a business to deal with, that must have been really been devastating. What about that? Where are you now?
Pepco/Graham: I would say as someone who has literally almost spent exactly half their life in the company, it is not something I wanted to read--not something my chairman [Joe Rigby] wanted to read. We took that very personally. All of the executives, all of the employees from whatever position you had, paid attention to that. And that's all we've been focused on the last year of so is improving the quality to our customers. Do we agree with everything that was in that article? No, we don't agree with everything. But there is also something that we talk about every day--the values of our company: safety, accountability, integrity, diversity and commitment to excellence. In the accountability piece, there are things that we own and we have to accept that responsibility and we do. We're not going to say everything is trees. We recognize there is aging infrastructure. We recognize an additional investment was needed in order to better meet the expectations of our customers and that's what we've been doing. We've been executing a plan.
WI: This is corporate wide or specifically for the Pepco region?
PEPCO/Graham: This is a 5-year [plan]. Our capital budget is a little over $5 billion. For Maryland, Pepco Maryland, this plan is $256.5 million. It's a 5 year plan. For the District, it's about $318 million. It represents an almost additional $200 million investment to improve reliability. Now, it's over a 5-year period, so what I always say this is a marathon, it's not a sprint. It's going to take a little while to get where we want to be as a company and where our customers want us to be. It is also important to mention that in the District of Columbia there are standards for service and we meet those standards today. Those standards have been revised. We're doing everything we can to make additional investments in order to meet those standards. In Maryland, no standards exist. They are working on that right now and I would image by the second quarter they will be releasing the standards.
WI: Where are these standards coming from?
PEPCO/Graham: It's coming from the Maryland public service commission and it would apply to all utilities , so it's not a special standard for Pepco.
So, when I look back and think back to how we got here and where we are today, there is a genuine great concern for our customers. Me being a lifelong D.C. resident--I live out in Prince George's County now. Still a Pepco customer-- but I'm in Prince George's County. I was born and raised in D.C. and all I knew was Pepco. My responsibility was to read the meter. My dad told me to get a job, work somewhere for 30 years, keep your mouth shut and get your pension.