The Council finds that:
(1) Global climate change has increased the frequency and severity of destructive weather patterns. Accordingly, electric power distribution service in the District of Columbia is vulnerable to equipment failures on the overhead electric distribution system of the electric company for many reasons, including high winds, flooding, lightning strikes, snow and ice accumulations, foreign contact between overhead equipment and animals, trees, and other objects, and other causes. In the past, this damage has caused the loss of electric power over extended time periods to residential and commercial customers; which damage and power loss have created economic losses for the District and its citizens, including critical infrastructure customers and other high-priority users of electricity, and has otherwise adversely affected the general welfare of the public. It can be expected that similar outages on the electric company’s overhead distribution system will continue to occur absent taking additional intensified outage-prevention measures.
(2) Electric system modernization is necessary to establish 21st century electric distribution systems to promote the public interest through increased system reliability, resiliency, and flexibility during all types of weather events, including major storms. The frequency of electric power outages within the District can be expected to decrease when overhead power lines in vulnerable locations are relocated underground. Consequently, selectively undergrounding certain overhead power lines can be expected to increase system reliability and reduce the economic, social, and other impacts caused by repeated power outages on the District's residents, businesses, workers, and visitors.
(5) Electric system modernization will require an unprecedented investment in the electric distribution infrastructure in the District.
(6) A special financing structure to support this unprecedented improvement to the electricity distribution infrastructure requires a specific legislative framework, and this legislation establishes that framework. The additional charges authorized by this legislation will be used solely to finance the construction and implementation of improvements to the distribution system to increase system reliability.
(7) The Council finds that the Mayor and the electrical company should make every practical effort to ensure that District residents are hired for newly created jobs funded by any mechanism wherein the costs of such funding are paid by the District from the DDOT Underground Electric Company Infrastructure Improvement Charge or recovered by the electric company through the Underground Project Charge, with a goal being that at least 100% of all related jobs are filled by District residents and 100% of the construction contracts are awarded to District businesses, where qualified to perform such work. Moreover, the Mayor and the electric company should make every practical effort to increase the use of District apprentices when executing contractor and subcontractor agreements to implement electric system modernization.
(8) By December 31, 2015, and by each December 31st thereafter until the completion of the work contemplated by this chapter, the Mayor and the electric company shall issue written reports to the Council that describe and evaluate their respective efforts in meeting the stated goals of this chapter, where applicable, to identify, hire, and train District residents, where qualified to perform such work, and to award construction contracts to District businesses.
(9) The Mayor and the electric company will be expected to make every practical effort to achieve these goals through contracting and hiring procedures that award additional preference points to qualified businesses and labor resources that advance the goals of this legislation.
For temporary (90 days) creation of § 34-1311.03, see § 2(c) of Power Line Undergrounding Program Certified Business Enterprise Utilization Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-606, Jan. 24, 2019, 66 DCR 1591).
For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(b) of Power Line Undergrounding Program Certified Business Enterprise Utilization Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-606, Jan. 24, 2019, 66 DCR 1591).