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Pepco Workers' Union Rejects Contract, Possible Strike Ahead

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The union that represents employees that work for electrict utility Pepco gave a resounding thumbs down to a contract proposal by the utility.

Pepco, which serves most of the Washington, D.C. area, called the offer final. But that didn't stop nearly 1,000 members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers rejected that proposal by a margin of nearly 5 to 1 Wednesday. That means that Pepco workers could soon go on strike.

The strike would include clerks and warehouse workers, as well as cable splicers and overhead line personnel. Pepco says they're prepared for a strike, and customers won't notice any change in their service. But the utility has said the same thing about its ability to handle outages during storms, and those results have been less than stellar, some local officials said this week.

Meanwhile, Pepco customers in the District can be prepared for some rate hikes next month, after the D.C. Public Service Commission approved a rate increase Wednesday that is a little more than half of what the company requested.

Pepco asked for a rate increase that would have cost the average customer about $5.20 per month. The company said the money was needed to cover a revenue deficiency of $24 million to recover costs associated with the Advanced Metering Infrastructure program.

Instead, what they got was a little more than half that amount, an increase of about $2.60 cents per customer. The increase, which is about 3 percent of the average monthly residential bill, is set to take effect in late October.

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