On the 21st of March, OurDC marched on PEPCO's 9th st headquarters
and payment center. Simultanious actions were scheduled at three other
PEPCO payment centers, including Rockville and SE DC. The main message
of the march was "PIG" meaning "Pepco Is Greedy."
Demands of the protest were a 50% rate cut, a moratorium on electricity
cutoffs, that PEPCO pay their taxes instead of evading them, and that
PEPCO stop lobbying to block pro-consumer legislation and appointments
to regulatory agencies,
Pepco was called out for spending more lobbying than on taxes after a
profit in 2010 of $624 million dollars. PEPCO topped one study's chart
for paying the highest negative tax rate at 57% (taxes - subsidies) of
any corporation in the DC area ladt year. Just their CEO was paid $6M in
compensation, now PEPCO wants a $42M rate hike?
OneDC is furious with this, and last time they went to PEPCO they
stormed tthe building and ultimately managed to force PEPCO to make a
payment plan and cancel a shutoff notice for one resident threatened
with having her power shut off.
This time around, PEPCO locked their doors and forced everyone who had
showed up to pay their bill to line up outside to be admitted one at a
time. At their main door, a security guard was posted to check employee
ID's at one door while all other panels were locked.
More people receiving huge bills from PEPCO spoke out on March 21 in
front of PEPCO. One person was billed $700 for electricity they hadn't
used. Another was facing a cutoff with a refrigerator full on insulin
for diabetes. PEPCO's suggesting to them was recounted as being "get an
icebox," the same solution they seem to advocate for power outages
caused by storms.
The march originally took 9th st in front of PEPCO, but the cops decided
they needed 9th st for traffic to pass, asking the protesters to move
the the sidewalk blocking PEPCO instead. OurDC happily complied with
that, sealing PEPCO's doors with a simicircle of protesters. Speakers
demanded to be let in, or failing that, that PEPCO at least let in the
folks who had shown up to pay their bills. Many of the people in line,
for their part, made it quite clear that they supported the protest.
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