Consumer Utility Board launches to give D.C. residents a say

By Ben Delman on November 1, 2016

Our fight against Exelon’s attempt to take over Pepco was long and tough. In its wake, several leaders from the campaign realized it would be critical to maintain a strong watchdog representing our interests. Thus, DC Consumer Utility Board (dcCUB) was born.

“We need to keep ratepayers informed and keep pushing for a 21st century smart grid where the energy is produced locally and used efficiently,” said Robert Robinson, dcCUB chair.

DC CUB’s organizers want to take advantage of the growing support and citizen engagement garnered during the Exelon fight. They decided that it was best to channel all the organizing efforts into a new group. This group will advocate on behalf of consumers and involve District residents in vital processes at the Public Service Commission. It will promote effective public engagement for the public benefit and advocate for fair, transparent, affordable, and progressive reforms of those entities that deliver D.C.’s electric, water, natural gas, and telecommunications. This will ensure the concerns of ratepayers, taxpayers, and residents are reflected in Public Service Commission rulings.

“It’s difficult because our cause isn’t sexy,” said Sherril Berger, dcCUB member. ”We are into the gritty details about utilities and telecommunications companies.”

Nevertheless, dcCUB is getting the attention of council members and community leaders. A few weeks ago, the organization held a launch event at the UDC Law School. Speakers and presenters included Councilmember Mary Cheh, Jacqueline Patterson from the NAACP, Jessica Azulay from the Alliance for a Green Economy, and Jerome S. Paige.

The organization is speaking to District residents about something they may have thought they had no control over, issues that have a true impact on people’s lives. Speakers at the kick-off noted that some D.C. residents spend as much as 20 % of their income on their utility bills. This is a cause people need to be concerned about. dcCUB will be the place people come to take action. dcCUB is in the process of analyzing the ways that high utility bills harm D.C. families. If you’d like to get involved, please reach out to Robert Robinson at