(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), and Pepco broke ground on the DC Power Line Undergrounding Project (PLUG), a joint $500 million, multi-year project to underground power lines and improve the resiliency and reliability of the power system for thousands of District residents.
“As part of our commitment to continuously improving the District’s infrastructure, we’re moving our power lines underground to ensure the lights stay on for more of our residents,” said Mayor Bowser. “As we continue to face the challenges of climate change and stronger storms, this project will help us build a stronger, more resilient, and more equitable DC.”
Mayor Bowser was joined by Ward 7 Councilmember Vincent Gray and Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie at today’s groundbreaking. The project began in Ward 3 and will include up to 30 feeders in Wards 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8. Once complete, the project will decrease storm-related outages by 94% in the District.
“I created the DC PLUG initiative during my time as Mayor in response to public demand from District residents for the improved distribution of electricity, especially for those who were adversely affected by lengthy power outages due to severe storms,” said Councilmember Gray. “I am pleased to join Mayor Bowser, Pepco, and District residents to celebrate this long-awaited improvement to the District’s feeder lines!”
The project was first established in 2012 following severe storms that caused days-long outages for portions of the District. In May 2017, Mayor Bowser signed legislation allowing DDOT and Pepco to move the project forward.
“As a champion for District-based businesses, I am proud to have crafted the DC PLUG law with a goal of 100% participation of local contractors, while increasing the resilience of our power grid to prevent future power outages,” said Councilmember McDuffie. “Employing District residents and contracting with District-based businesses keeps our dollars circulating in our local economy.”
“In addition to providing customers with clean, safe, reliable, and affordable energy service, we work day-in and day-out at Pepco to make the local energy grid more resilient, and the DC PLUG project is an example of that work,” said Pepco Holdings President and CEO Dave Velazquez. “Our customers are more connected to the grid than ever before, and we want to ensure that the benefits from this project will extend far beyond reliable energy service and include opportunities for local, diverse businesses. This innovative public-private partnership between Pepco and the District of Columbia allows us to collectively meet milestones in infrastructure, equity building, and community impact.”
“The benefits of this project to the community are far reaching, by improving the reliability of the power system and creating jobs for District residents, through the contractors who will complete this work,” said DDOT Director Jeff Marootian.
For more information about the DC PLUG project, residents can visit www.dcpluginfo.com.