11/13 update: The Public Service Commission is extending the November 17th public hearing into a second day, “[d]ue to the great number of persons who have pre-registered to speak at the Community Hearing, and in order to give as many participants as possible a chance to be heard.” See below for information on registering to testify at the hearings on November 17th and 18th.
In an October press conference, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced she’s now a supporter of Exelon’s Pepco takeover, saying she had negotiated a deal “that puts District residents and ratepayers first.”
On October 28th, the same commission that had unanimously rejected the merger in August as against the public interest agreed to reopen the case, and also granted Exelon and Pepco’s request for an expedited 150-day schedule. The commission acknowledged that its August order was final, which should mean the case cannot be reopened, but waived the normal procedural rules and allowed the case to be reopened solely for the purpose of deciding whether Mayor Bowser’s settlement agreement is in the public interest.
The next few weeks will include additional written and oral testimony by all the parties to the case, discovery (requests for documents in support of testimony), two public forums, and the filing of final briefs. Once the hearings are complete and the briefs have been filed, the PSC will convene and decide, within the 150-day time frame, whether the settlement agreement is in the public interest.
The first public forum is a “community hearing” this Tuesday, November 17th and Wednesday, November 18th, starting both days at 10 a.m. This hearing is for collecting testimony from DC residents. Anyone interested in testifying should contact PSC secretary Brinda Westbrook-Sedgwick at firstname.lastname@example.org. Westbrook-Sedgwick will also accept written testimony until December 18th.
The second public forum is the “public interest hearing,” to be held December 2nd and 3rd. At this hearing the parties to the case who did not sign the settlement (such as GRID2.0 and DC SUN) and the federal General Services Administration will be provided the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses from Exelon and Pepco and the settling parties (such as the Office of the People’s Council and the DC government).
Here is the PSC’s full procedural schedule:
October 30, 2015 – Motion to Approve the Settlement Agreement and Supporting Testimony Filed
November 6, 2015 – Data Requests to Settling Parties’ Regarding Settlement Agreement and Supporting Testimony
November 13, 2015 – Settling Parties’ Responses to Data Requests Regarding Settlement Agreement and Supporting Testimony
November 17, 2015 – Community Hearing
November 17, 2015 – Nonsettling Party Testimony Filed
November 20, 2015 – Data Requests to Nonsettling Parties Regarding Settlement Agreement and Supporting Testimony
November 25, 2015 – Nonsettling Parties’ Responses to Data Requests Regarding Settlement Agreement and Supporting Testimony
December 2-3, 2015 (December 4 as hold over day) – Public Interest Hearing (Two Days)
December 11, 2015 – Initial Briefs due
December 18, 2015 – Reply Briefs due
I wrote here about the PSC’s seven criteria used in considering whether the merger is in the public interest and compared it to the mayor’s settlement agreement.
And this Monday, November 16th, a day before the first public hearing, Council member Mary Cheh is to speak at a public forum about the settlement organized by Ward 3 ANC members. The forum begins at 7 p.m. at Forest Hills of DC (4901 Connecticut Avenue).