Councilmember Todd Proposes DC Water Consumer Protection Legislation

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In the wake of widespread concern regarding DC Water’s high rates and fees, District of
Columbia Councilmember Brandon T. Todd (D-Ward 4) has proposed legislation that would
enhance consumer protections for DC Water customers and ratepayers.
“I am proud to co-introduce legislation that ensures DC Water customers have an advocate
in their corner” said Council member Todd. “This legislation would bring the same
level of accountability to DC Water that exists for other utilities in the District of Columbia.
As I continue to hear from a number of residents with DC Water-related concerns, we must provide the authority necessary to protect the best interests of Washingtonians as it relates to our water utility. While DC Water provides critical services to the District and is a leader in innovative water management practices, enhanced accountability will only help them deliver better services to their customers.”

The “DC Water Consumer Protection Amendment Act of 2018” would impose the following
requirements and oversight on DC Water:

First and foremost, the legislation would bring DC Water under the oversight of the
Office of the Peoples’ Counsel (OPC). OPC would have new authority to represent District
residents in matters related to DC Water and to conduct education and outreach of the legal rights of residents.

The Office of the People’s Counsel is an independent agency of the District of Columbia
government. By law, the Office currently advocates for consumers of natural gas, electric,
and telephone services. The Office also represents the interests of District utility ratepayers
before the DC Public Service Commission, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Federal
Communications Commission, other utility regulatory bodies, and the courts.
OPC does not currently have authority over DC Water.
Second, the bill requires that DC Water give great weight to comments provided by
OPC as related to water and sewer rate setting.

Finally, the legislation requires that DC Water submit an annual report to the Council
and the Mayor detailing consumer inquiries and complaints and their outcomes.
This bill follows legislation introduced by Councilmember Todd in November, 2018
that partially exempts cemeteries from Clean River Impervious Area Charge (CRIAC) fees,
and builds on Councilmember Todd’s efforts to ensure DC Water customers and ratepayers
are treated fairly

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