The Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) is an American utility company that supplies electric power to the city of Washington, D.C., and to surrounding communities in Maryland. It is owned by Exelon.

Potomac Electric Power Company
Company typeSubsidiary
FoundedApril 28, 1896; 128 years ago (1896-04-28) (as Potomac Electric Power Company)
FounderOscar T. Crosby
United States Edit this on Wikidata
Area served
Washington metropolitan area
ProductsElectric power
Number of employees
ASN17347 Edit this at Wikidata

The company's current trademarked slogan is "Your life. Plugged in." Its former slogan was "We're connected to you by more than power lines."

Pepco's bulk transmission system consists of transmission lines operating at 115 kV, 138kV, 230 kV and 500 kV. Pepco has interconnections with Potomac Edison (230kV, 500kV), Baltimore Gas and Electric (500kV, 230kV, 115kV), and Dominion Virginia Power (500kV, 230kV).



The company's predecessor, Potomac Electric Co., was organized in 1891 to provide street lighting and streetcar power in Georgetown and Northwest D.C.[1] After suffering during the Panic of 1893, the company filed bankruptcy and, on November 6, 1895, was acquired by Oscar T. Crosby and Charles A. Lieb for $5,500.[1]

The company was incorporated as Potomac Electric Power Company on April 28, 1896 in Virginia. It became a subsidiary of the North American Company, which owned the Washington Traction and Electric Company, one of the private streetcar companies in Washington.[1]

On December 17, 1896, after a court battle, the company received a contract to light the city of Washington, D.C.

In January 1889, the company merged with its rival, United States Electric Lighting Company.

In 1899, the company merged with Washington Traction and Electric Company.

In June 1901, the company filed for bankruptcy and was acquired by the Washington Railway and Electric Company.

In 1905, revenues exceeded $1 million for the first time.[1]

In 1906, the company began construction of the first unit of the Benning Road Power Plant, along the Anacostia River. When its last unit was completed in 1931, the power plant had a 185,000-kilowatt capacity.

In 1928, the North American Company, a holding company that owned many public utilities, gained control of Washington Railway and Electric.

The Public Utility Holding Company Act was enacted in 1935 to force the breakup of large utility holding companies. Under this law, the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1942 ordered the North American Company and its subsidiaries to split up.[2] A years-long legal battle ensued, culminating in a Supreme Court decision upholding the order.[3] As a result, Pepco's stock was distributed to Washington Railway's shareholders in December 1947, making Pepco an independent, publicly traded company.[4][5]

In 1954, revenue exceeded $50 million for the first time.[1]

In 1969, the company suspended its dividend due to rising costs.[1]

In 1980, the company cancelled plans to build a $930 million power plant in Montgomery County as a result of reduced demand.[6]

In September 1995, the company announced a merger with Baltimore Gas & Electric;[7] however, the merger was cancelled in December 1997.[8]

In 2001, Pepco agreed to acquire Conectiv Power Delivery, the parent company of Delmarva Power and Atlantic City Electric, for $2.2 billion.[9] The purchase was completed in 2002, with Pepco and Conectiv becoming subsidiaries of a newly formed holding company, Pepco Holdings.[10] In 2003, Pepco's investment subsidiary, Potomac Capital Investment, was transferred to Pepco Holdings.[11]

In 2014, Pepco Holdings agreed to be acquired by Exelon for $6.8 billion.[12] The deal faced opposition from Pepco customers and from officials in Washington and Maryland, but was ultimately approved.[13] The acquisition was completed on March 23, 2016, making Pepco a subsidiary of Exelon.[14][15]



Most hated company in America


In 2011, Business Insider named the company first on its list of "The 19 Most Hated Companies In America" based on its American Customer Satisfaction Index rating.[16]

Poor reliability and outages


An investigation by The Washington Post in 2010 faulted Pepco for poor reliability. The report noted that the company's performance had slipped since 2005, comparing poorly to other major utilities in the frequency and duration of power outages. Thousands of people lost power for as many as five days after only 5–8 inches of heavy wet snow.[17]

During the June 2012 North American derecho, more than half of the customers in Montgomery County, Maryland lost electric power. The company was criticized for being slow to restore power and for charging its customers for the power outage.[18]

Environmental impact


The company's Benning Road Power Plant produced air pollution that negatively affected neighboring communities. In 2017, the company agreed to pay regulators $1.6 million for violations of the Clean Water Act.[19] In October 2023, Pepco agreed to pay $47 million in costs and $10 million in penalties to D.C. for decades of discharging toxic chemicals in the city, affecting the Anacostia River and other areas.[20]

Alleged fraud


In March 2022, the D.C. Office of the Attorney General and the Office of the People’s Counsel alleged Pepco was committing a "pattern of systemic violations" in carrying out community solar panel installations.[21] According to the complaint, Pepco has botched its handling of community solar projects in numerous ways. The utility is undercounting solar energy generation at community solar projects, according to the filing, and is “systematically failing” to provide accurate and timely solar credits to customers.[22]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Hamilton, Martha M. (April 26, 1996). "THE COMPANY THAT STAYED CURRENT". The Washington Post.
  2. ^ "Utility is told to cut links with 56 units". Chicago Tribune. AP. April 15, 1942 – via
  3. ^ "Top court upholds death sentence act". The Charlotte Observer. AP. April 2, 1946 – via
  4. ^ Edward C. Stone (November 21, 1947). "New Pepco common listed on New York and D.C. exchanges". Washington Evening Star – via Library of Congress.
  5. ^ Edward C. Stone (November 18, 1947). "SEC approves stock plan". Washington Evening Star – via Library of Congress.
  6. ^ Knight, Jerry (June 20, 1980). "Pepco to Build No New Plants For Ten Years". The Washington Post.
  7. ^ Southerl, Daniel (September 26, 1995). "PEPCO TO MERGE WITH BALTIMORE GAS & ELECTRIC". The Washington Post.
  8. ^ Hamilton, Martha M. (December 23, 1997). "PEPCO, BALTIMORE GAS CANCEL TWO-YEAR-OLD PLAN TO MERGE". The Washington Post.
  9. ^ Dan Thanh Dang (February 13, 2001). "Pepco set to acquire Conectiv". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2022-07-10.
  10. ^ Marty Nil (August 2, 2002). "Pepco and Conectiv complete merger". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2022-07-10.
  11. ^ Clabaugh, Jeff (June 17, 2003). "Pepco Holdings absorbs investment arm". American City Business Journals.
  12. ^ Michael J. de la Merced (April 30, 2014). "Hoping for stability, utility operator Exelon agrees to buy Pepco for $6.8 billion". The New York Times. Retrieved 2021-05-08.
  13. ^ Gavin Bade (February 25, 2016). "A brief history of the Exelon-Pepco merger saga". Utility Dive. Retrieved 2021-05-08.
  14. ^ "Pepco Holdings and Exelon close merger following approval by the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia" (Press release). Exelon. March 23, 2016. Retrieved 2021-05-08.
  15. ^ Scott Dance (March 23, 2016). "BGE owner Exelon closes $6.9 billion deal to buy Pepco". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2021-05-08.
  16. ^ Lubin, Gus; Giang, Vivian (June 29, 2011). "The 19 Most Hated Companies In America". Business Insider.
  17. ^ Stephens, Joe; Flaherty, Mary Pat (December 5, 2010). "Why Pepco Can't Keep the Lights On". The Washington Post.
  18. ^ Mallonee, Mary Kay; Olabanji, Jummy; Roussey, Tom (July 16, 2012). "Pepco, BGE to make money from power outage". WJLA-TV.
  19. ^ "The Justice Department and EPA Reach Clean Water Act Settlement with Pepco to Reduce Pollution to Anacostia River" (Press release). United States Department of Justice. January 13, 2017.
  20. ^ Moyer, Justin Wm (2023-10-04). "Pepco to pay D.C. more than $57 million for Anacostia River pollution". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2023-12-10.
  21. ^ "Court document" (PDF). Retrieved 25 September 2023.
  22. ^ "Pepco 'Systematically Mishandling' Solar Projects, Says DC AG". Archived from the original on March 23, 2022.