Councilmember Cheh Moves Emergency Bill to Protect Vulnerable Residents in Extreme Heat

Bill would prevent Pepco from disconnecting residential electric service when the heat index is 95 degree Fahrenheit or greater

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Councilmember Mary M. Cheh (D – Ward 3), Chair of the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, introduced the Heat Wave Safety Emergency Amendment Act of 2014. The Heat Wave Safety Emergency Amendment Act will temporarily amend the Retail Electric Competition and Consumer Protection Act of 1999 to prohibit the District’s electric company from disconnecting residential electric service when the heat index is forecasted to be 95 degrees Fahrenheit or above.

 

“Ten times as many people die every year in the U.S. from heat than from the cold, and yet, we only prevent Pepco from disconnecting a resident’s power during cold weather,” said Councilmember Cheh. “Today, I introduced the Heat Wave Safety Emergency and Temporary Amendment Acts to ensure that residents receive those protections this summer as well.”

 

This legislation would bar Pepco from shutting off power during the day preceding, and the day of, a forecast of extreme temperature, which is defined as a heat index of 95 degree Fahrenheit.  If the forecast of extreme temperature precedes a holiday or weekend day, Pepco would be prohibited from disconnecting residential electric service on any day during the holiday or weekend. A number of other states have all-inclusive bans on shutoffs of electricity service prior to and during periods of extreme heat.

 

“There is no reason why we should provide less protection for our residents than these jurisdictions, especially given the large number of very old, very young, and otherwise vulnerable populations living in the District,” Cheh said.

 

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