GLAA protests rate increases by PEPCO and Washington Gas Light
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GLAA protests rate increases by PEPCO and Washington Gas Light

Fighting for Equal Rights Since 1971
P. O. Box 75265
Washington, D.C. 20013
(202) 667-5139

January 3, 2007

Ms. Agnes Alexander Yates
D.C. Public Service Commission
1333 H Street, NW, Suite 200W
Washington, D.C. 20005

Dear Chairperson Yates:

We are writing to inform you that the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington (GLAA) intends to participate in two of your upcoming proceedings: One dealing with PEPCO’s December 12 request for a raise in residential electric rates (docket # F.C. 1053), and the other dealing with Washington Gas Light’s December 21 request for a raise in gas rates (no docket number assigned yet).

We plan to protest both proposed rate increases until and unless both corporations implement equitable domestic partner benefits programs.

News stories earlier this year called attention to the absence of domestic partner programs at these two public utilities, which leaves them virtually alone among Fortune 500 companies based in the Washington area.  GLAA wrote to the CEOs of both companies in July asking them to correct this unfortunate situation.  Unfortunately, our request for action was all but ignored.  PEPCO’s public affairs office sent us a masterpiece of corporate double-speak, while Washington Gas Light never had the courtesy to reply to our letter at all.

As we pointed out to PEPCO and Washington Gas Light, domestic partner programs have become commonplace throughout the country, largely because corporate executives wisely wish to remain competitive and profitable.  District law has long provided tax incentives for private companies with such policies.  But these two utilities are seemingly blind to the best interests of their shareholders.

More is at stake here than mere private interests. As regulated utilities with monopoly or quasi-monopoly powers, PEPCO and Washington Gas Light have responsibilities not just to their own shareholders but to the public at large. We believe that their failure to implement domestic partner programs constitutes a violation of clearly established public policy within the District of Columbia, which favors equal pay for equal work in general and for domestic partners in particular.

Your office’s news release about PEPCO’s proposed rate increase refers to a “9-month litigated proceeding,” including both formal evidentiary and community hearings.  We assume a comparable process will apply to Washington Gas Light’s proposal.  Accordingly, we ask you to include GLAA in your distribution lists whenever these hearings are scheduled so that we may present our case in full.  

We hope that once public pressure is brought to bear on PEPCO and Washington Gas Light, their senior executives will speedily take appropriate remedial action.

  Thank you. We look forward to working constructively with you and your staff.


Barrett L. Brick

Cc: Richard E. Morgan, Commissioner
       Elizabeth A. Noël, D.C. People’s Counsel
       Councilmember Mary Cheh, Chair, Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs
       Committee members

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