(I know that I’ve already declared my sympathies in the D.C. At-Large Council race, so you can dismiss me as a loyalist hack if you’d like, but I’ll hew as tightly to the facts as I can.)
Candidate Vincent Orange was Pepco’s “Region Vice President” for the District of Columbia from 2007 until 2010. I’m not the first to notice this (and worry about it). If you’re a resident of the DC metro area, you know that Pepco is one of the worst utility companies in the nation (the world? Of all time?). As the Washington Post put it last December:
Pepco delivers power to 778,000 customers in the District and neighboring parts of Maryland, including some of the most affluent communities and most important institutions in the nation. But in reliability studies, the company ranks near the bottom in keeping the power on and bringing it back once it goes out…In fact, the average Pepco customer experienced 70 percent more outages than customers of other big city utilities that took part in one 2009 survey. And the lights stayed out more than twice as long.
These guys make the federal government look sleek, streamlined, and efficient. They make public bureaucracy seem like a welcome respite. What’s the difference between Pepco and the devil? Trick question! Pepco is actually staffed by apprentice demons.
The point: Shouldn’t we be a little bit troubled that Vincent Orange was involved in a company that’s been dodging political oversight for years? Is it worrisome that the Post reported that Pepco’s reliability slump happened sometime between 2005 and 2009, during Orange’s tenure? Is it worrisome that a large part of his job consisted of lobbying public officials to do right by Pepco?
These are NOT trick questions. The answers are pretty easy, I think.
For obvious reasons, then, Orange largely avoids mentioning his Pepco work on his campaign website. When he does bring it up, though, the Pepco he’s talking about sounds nothing like the mid-Atlantic’s diabolical tormentors. For example:
Potomac Electric Power Company, better known as Pepco, is addressing these issues through its Blueprint for the Future, which is designed to reduce the cost of energy, reduce the consumption of energy and protect the environment.
And yes, Pepco might be doing this, when they’re not engaged in killing puppies or promoting Rebecca Black albums or leaving the lights off while they play Duck-Duck-Goose in their local warehouses.
The other candidates—Sekou Biddle, Bryan Weaver, Joshua Lopez, & Patrick Mara—have been kind in not bringing this up. Not me! In a city that’s having a hard time getting up-front, honest, local governance, it’s probably best to avoid electing someone with connections to the worst-run organization in the District (who else is even close? Thoughts, commenters?) to oversee it.