Pepco Helps Customers Plan for Potential High Winter Bills

Energy bills remain high Photo: GETTY

Pepco wants to remind customers who are having trouble keeping their accounts current through these cold weather stretches and higher usage periods that resources are available to them.

“We have a wide range of payment options that we offer customers and also offer to work individually with any customer on ways they can better manage their electric bills,” said Donna Cooper, president, Pepco Region. “We want them to know they can always call us for help.”

Standard bill payment options Pepco offers include:

1. Special Payment Arrangements: For our customers who may be experiencing difficulties keeping their accounts current, Pepco offers a variety of individually tailored payment arrangements aimed at bringing their account up-to-date over a mutually agreeable period of time. Many of these arrangements can be made directly over the phone by calling (202) 833-7500 and following the simple instructions or by speaking with a customer service representative. Either way, Pepco will be more than glad to provide help through difficult periods.
2. Budget Billing: Customers can avoid seasonal peaks in electric bills by dividing their payments evenly over the course of the entire year. This plan makes it easier to budget and pay electric bills each month, because customers know their regular payment amount. To sign up for budget billing, customers can register either by calling customer service at (202) 833-7500 or online through My Account, a secure self-service option that will allow customers to:
o View and pay their bills
o Sign up for eBill (paperless billing)
o Get e-mail notification when bills are ready
o Take advantage of features that can help save energy
Once customers register for My Account, they just need to log in and click on the “Budget Billing” button.

3. Extended Payment Date Plan: This allows residential customers whose main source of total household income is from government or other low-income entitlement programs to request a regular extension of their bill due dates without incurring a late charge so their bill due dates align with the dates they get their checks. To apply, call Pepco at (202) 833-7500 or submit the enrollment form online at pepco.com.

4. Energy Assistance Programs: Some federal energy assistance may be available through state and local assistance programs. Customers can get more information on those programs by calling Pepco at (202) 833-7500.

Pepco also has conservation programs and tips for customers to reduce energy consumption, which will mean lower monthly bills. Our smart meters can help customers save energy and money and help lower their bills during these high usage periods. The new technology allows customers to login to Pepco’s My Account web portal and monitor their electricity usage down to hourly increments.

“We also want to help customers take control of their energy usage,” Cooper said. “Saving energy will also save them money.”

Customers can call customer service or visit our website at pepco.com/energy/conservation/ to learn more about programs to help pay for more energy efficient products, simple steps they can can take to conserve energy usage and how to monitor their energy consumption.

City Council Supports Downtown Development Plan

Downtown College Park: The area like around Cornerstone (left) can potentially transform into a mixed use development like Easton town Center in Columbus, Ohio

Downtown College Park: The area around Cornerstone near Route 1 and Knox Rd. (left) can potentially transform into a mixed use development like Easton town Center in Columbus, Ohio

Land use diagram

Land use diagram

In last Tuesday’s worksession, the City Council approved a motion in support of the general concept before beginning the process of working out details of this plan.

In September, a group of stakeholders, including developers, City, County, and State elected officials, and representatives of the University administration held a meeting to discuss plans for redevelopment of downtown College Park. The result of this meeting was a plan for redevelopment the downtown area on both sides of Route 1 between Lehigh Road and Guilford Drive, incorporating mixed-use office, commercial and retail development, and proposing four different options for redevelopment of the City Hall site (including possibly relocating City Hall to Calvert Road). It also includes possible transportation and circulation improvements needed to support the vision.

Looking at the west side of Route 1 in the land use diagram, the, Area 1 is suggested to include 170,000 SF of office and/or university related use with ground floor retail facing Lehigh Road / Southgate Lawn to the north and facing Knox Road to the south. The site is MUI and other uses are permissible. The buildings along Route 1 will remain. New buildings are anticipated to be approximately 6 stories. The Sector Plan calls for minimum 2 stories and maximum 6.

The new north south street may extend to Lehigh Road and, if so, a small green may be appropriate as a transition to South Campus Commons to the west. Although this green space is shown in the Sector Plan, it was determined in the Workshop that it may not be needed; if the north south road ultimately does not extend north to Lehigh, a new building may extend further west. Parking for this site may be accommodated on site and/or in the City Garage.

Area 2, 3, and the Quality Inn site are suggested to be residential with ground floor retail. Although, the sites are MUI and other uses are permissible. Retail should be continuous along Route 1. Retail, residential units and/or residential amenity space should be along Knox, Hartwick, and Guilford Roads. Residential units and/or residential amenity space should front along the new north-south street. Parking is proposed to be multi-story garages in the center of each block, wrapped with residential units. Buildings are anticipated to be approximately 6 stories.

Area 2 is suggested to include 300 market-rate residential units; Area 3 to include 200 units; and the Quality Inn site as, potentially, 200 to 300 units. Student housing is not preferred, although more supportable on the west side of Route 1 rather than the east side. For instance, the “Knox boxes” are being redeveloped as student housing. Retail tenants are unknown at this time, although complimentary retail and restaurants are anticipated, as either small shops and/or retail anchors.

Area 3 also includes, potentially, a “signature” retail store at the intersection of Hartwick Road and Route 1.

For the concept plan for the east side of Route 1 and other related areas, please check here.

Four Cities to Meet Tomorrow to Discuss FBI Move, Branchville FD, Animal Shelter and More..

The FBI Headquarters in D.C.

The FBI Headquarters in D.C.

The Mayors and Council members of College Park and three other neighboring cities Berwyn Heights, Greenbelt and New Carrollton will meet tomorrow at the City Hall Council chamber to discuss a few important topics.

One of the leading agenda items include a presentation by a Q&A session with Dr. Wallace Loh, President of the University of Maryland and Ross Stern, who is Assistant to the President. One item for discussion with Dr. Loh is the University’s position on bringing the FBI to Greenbelt Metro.

Other items up for discussion include volunteer fire department issues, including staffing issues at Branchville Volunteer Fire department,

Another item will be updates on the discussion of the animal shelter issue that we had at our last meeting with County’s Animal shelter program representatives.

Residents Urged to Conserve Electricity

The Testudo on McKeldin Mall in frigid weather

Grid Operator Again Asks Customers to Conserve Electricity. More Frigid Weather Prompts Emergency Actions; Customers Asked to Extend Hours of Curtailed Energy Usage

Pepco and PJM Interconnection, the electricity grid operator for more than 61 million people in 13 states and the District of Columbia, are issuing an urgent appeal for customers to conserve electricity from 6 to 10 a.m., and from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday.

The call for conservation is prompted by another wave of frigid weather that will greatly increase the demand for electricity. The demand for electricity and the need for conservation are expected to be highest Tuesday evening.

Customers can take simple electricity conservation steps:
– Set thermostats lower than usual, if health permits.
– Postpone using major electric appliances such as stoves, dishwashers and clothes dryers until mid-day or after 9 p.m., when the demand for electricity decreases, or there are also options like wood stoves that are great for this, as you can easily get online for the best stove for small wood here.
– Turn off electric lights and appliances that you do not need or are not using.

Conserving electricity today will help ensure adequate power supplies. PJM continues to carefully monitor the power supply conditions. PJM and its members will do everything possible to keep power flowing in the region.

North College Park Crime Report: Jan 12 – 25, 2014

Please see below last week’s crime report and let me know if you have any questions.

[mappress mapid=”157″]

Breaking and Entering Commercial






[1/24/14]B&E Co02:3805:2210200 Blk BALTIMORE AVE







[1/13/14]THEFT17:2719:249200 Blk DAVIDSON ST

Theft from Auto






[1/13/14]THEFTA18:3319:249300 Blk CHERRY HILL RD
[1/13/14]THEFA120:0721:04HOME DEPOT – COLLEGE PARK
[1/19/14]THEFTA00:2000:49DAYS INN – COLLEGE PARK
[1/24/14]THEFTA20:2722:119500 Blk BALTIMORE AVE,
[1/24/14]THEFTA20:5722:119500 Blk BALTIMORE AVE,


Columbia Mall Shooting Victim, Shooter Lived in College Park

More information is coming about yesterday’s Columbia Mall shooting incident. The Police is saying that the shooter and one of the victims lived here in north College Park.

The Police is still trying to find the motive of the shooting and the connection between the shooter and the victim. The ATF came to the house at Hollywood/47th Pl. after finding crude explosives in the shooter’s (Darion Marcus Aguila, 19) body. According to police, the area is completely safe for the residents.

Per unconfirmed report, the victim, Brianna Benlolo, 21,  moved to College Park only a few months ago. Please see here FaceBook page here. She is originally from Florida and had a 2 years old son. Very sad.

College Park Restaurant Week Ends Tomorrow

College Park Restaurant Week, 2014

College Park Restaurant Week is back in full swing with 16 locally-owned restaurants participating in this edition.

Specials include multi-course meals for a nice evening out or individually-discounted items to grab on your lunch break. CPRW runs through Sunday, January 26th, so we hope to see you around town trying one of the newer restaurants or revisiting a longtime favorite.

For a list of participating restaurants and their specials for the week, please stop by the City’s Shop College Park website at www.shopcollegepark.org/cprw.

If you’d like to share your restaurant week experience on Facebook or Twitter you can use the hashtag #cprw to do so.

Hollywood Wind and Weather Park Construction to Start this Summer

Hollywood Wind and Weather Park

The park at the south east corner of Edgewood Rd. and Route 1, which was formerly known as the Gateway Park, will now be called “Hollywood Wind and Weather Park”. The name change was made to reflect the climate related activities that the park will support.

The landscape architecture and engineering design services to Flora Teeter and Whitney Bailey Cox and Magnani, LLC, the designer of the park, came to to last night’s Council worksession, where they presented the park’s final design.

In the fall of 2012, the City awarded a contract for Flora Teeter for an eco-gateway park at the south-east corner of the intersection of Route 1 and Edgewood Road. After that, they prepared conceptual design alternatives and a preferred design was selected by the Project Advisory Committee and presented to the North College Park Citizens Association.

In May last year, Flora Teeter/WBCM also received comments on the design plan from the City Council prior to entering into the final design phase of the project. The theme of the proposed design is Wind and Water, and the design will incorporate educational climate and weather-oriented displays and activities, such as weather vanes, a sundial, a cistern to make rain, and pieces of art incorporating wind and the sun.

The project allows for opportunities for collaboration with Hollywood Elementary School as well as a place for local children to visit and play.

The Park’s construction will begin sometime this summer and will take about 9-12 months to complete, depending on the availability of funds.

Council to Discuss Covenant with Greenbelt North Core Developer

First, due to inclement weather, last Tuesday’s Council worksession was postponed to tonight at 7pm.

Tonight, we will discuss a covenant that the north Core developer may be entering into with the City in exchange of City’s support for the FBI development.

The city entered into the Greenbelt Station Development Agreement in 2005, which included both the north and south cores. In August 2012, this agreement was severed for the south core and a new Declaration of Covenants and Development Agreement was entered into with Sun Trust Bank, then owner of the south core. The owner of the north core, Renard Development Company, LLC, was aware of and supported this transaction but deferred entering into a new agreement with the city at the time. Renard is now responding to a government solicitation for the relocation of the headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and seeks to resolve the matter.

A proposed draft agreement has been provided by Renard that brings forward language from the original agreement including a payment of $1.25 million to the city at the time of the first major out-sale in the north core (defined as a land purchase in excess of $10 million dollars). The agreement also makes reference to the city’s support for Renard’s efforts and plans to secure the FBI headquarters for the property Staff and the City Attorney are seeking some revisions to the agreement that are still under discussion with Renard. In particular, we are looking for a more specific trigger for the payment to the city. We hope to have a revised document for discussion at tonight’s worksession.

2014 Environmental Film Series – The World According to Monsanto

Environmental Film Series

Environmental Film Series

“There’s nothing they are leaving untouched: the mustard, the okra, the bringe oil, the rice, the cauliflower. Once they have established the norm: that seed can be owned as their property, royalties can be collected. We will depend on them for every seed we grow of every crop we grow. If they control seed, they control food, they know it – it’s strategic. It’s more powerful than bombs. It’s more powerful than guns.” (From Top Documentary Films website)

This film presents information important to all of us, including the “intimate links between Monsanto and government agencies, the US adopted GE foods and crops without proper testing, without consumer labeling and in spite of serious questions hanging over their safety. Not coincidentally, Monsanto supplies 90 percent of the GE seeds used by the US market.”

When:       Saturday, February 1, 2014, 1 pm

Where:      College Park City Hall, Council Chambers, 2nd floor, 4500 Knox Rd., College Park 20740

RSVP:       Requested but not requiredemail janiso@erols.com or call 301-474-5358

Council to Discuss Greenbelt Station Plan Amendments

Greenbelt north and south core development areas

Greenbelt north and south core development areas

In tonight’s worksession, the City Council will discuss the proposed amendments to Greenbelt Station development.

The development is located just east of north College Park, on the other side of train track. The conceptual site plan covers both the north and south cores of Greenbelt Station, which are now owned by different entities.

This is an application to amend the Conceptual Site Plan for Greenbelt Station that was originally approved in 2001, reconsidered and approved by the Planning Board with conditions in 2005, revised and approved with conditions by the Planning Board and District Council in 2006, and finally reconsidered and approved by the Planning Board in 2012 with 63 conditions. The subject amendments involve requests

  • to eliminate two conditions on retail and office spaces
  • realign trails,
  • remove the pedestrian overpass and
  • realign the north/south connector road.

The Planning Board hearing will be held on January 30, 2014. The county technical staff report is not yet available. The entire site is within the City of Greenbelt municipal limits.

The initial amendment was submitted by the owner of the south core, NVR MS Cavalier Greenbelt LLC (Woodlawn Development) who purchased the entire south core from Sun Trust Bank after the property was foreclosed. This included two requests described in a Statement of Justification dated August 30,2013.

The first request is to remove Condition No. 1.c.1.i., which requires the construction of two condominiums that contain commercial retail/office space on the first floor. The applicant’s analysis indicates that these units are not feasible and the City of Greenbelt agrees.

The second request is to remove Condition No. 1.c.1.ii., which requires that a minimum of 80,000 square feet of commercial retail/office be constructed prior to the issuance of residential building permits in excess of 785 dwelling units and that this minimum may be reduced to 60,000 square feet upon demonstration that the space has not been determined to be commercially feasible. An economic analysis report submitted by the applicant finds that the proposed neighborhood will not have sufficient critical mass to support any appreciable amount of commercial/retail space on its own.

Instead, the applicant proposes a new condition that reads as follows, “the applicant shall designate an area for potential retail on a .5 acre site adjacent to the central park, west of Greenbelt Station Parkway, for the south core. However, if prior to the issuance of the 450th building permit, the retail is not economically feasible (demonstrated by executed sales or leasing agreement), the .5 acre area can convert to public parkland.” The City of Greenbelt supports this revision.

A third request involves the realignment of the stream valley trail in the south core to the east side of Indian Creek due to topographical restrictions that make the original alignment infeasible. The City of Greenbelt agrees with this general shift but is examining additional revisions that may be desirable. On December 19, 2013, a supplemental Statement of Justification was submitted by the applicant requesting that the requirement in Condition 43 for a pedestrian overpass connecting the south core to the City of College Park be eliminated. Condition 43 states that the general location of the pedestrian overpass on the west side of the railroad shall be between Huron Street and the College Park Public Works facility and that both the Cities of College Park and Greenbelt shall review and approve the location and design of the overpass. The City of Greenbelt supports the elimination of this requirement and the City of College Park has debated this issue for many years. In 2012, when the city renegotiated the Declaration of Covenants and Development Agreement for the south core, this requirement was not included due to recognition of the difficulty of locating and constructing such a facility and the lack of consensus in the North College Park area supporting it.

On December 20, 2013, a supplemental Statement of Justification was submitted by the attorney representing the owners of the north core. This statement supports the amendments for the south core and requests a change to the alignment of the connector road (Greenbelt Station Parkway) in the north core in order to accommodate the requirements of the General Services Administration in their solicitation for a new location for the headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The alignment is proposed to shift from the east along the Indian Creek environmental preservation area to the center of the site and will not result in any additional environmental disturbances. This road will include pedestrian and bicycle facilities but in the interim, the south core developer will construct a hiker/biker trail along the ridge alignment to the west in order to provide a connection between the south core and the metro station. The City of Greenbelt supports the realignment of the north/south connector road.

Staff is recommending to support the requested amendments to Conditions 1.c.1. and 1.c.ii. as well as the requested realignment of the north/south connector road. Further discussion is needed with the City Council and the City of Greenbelt regarding proposed changes to the trails and pedestrian overpass.

Martin Luther King Day – Leaf and Trash Collection

Today is Martin Luther King Day. The City offices are closed today. The City observed the day last Saturday at the Clarice Smith Performance Arts Center.

Due to office closures, this week’s trash collection will be delayed by a day. Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s trash collection will happen on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

Also, City’s Fall leaf collection ended last week. If you still have leaves in your yard, please put them in paper compost bags. Public Works will collect them on your regular trash collection days.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you.

Council to Discuss County’s Storm Water Design Manual

Storm water design manual

In this week’s work session, the Council will discuss the revised Prince George’s County Storm Water Design Manual. The purpose of the County revising its Stormwater Design Manual is to be current with the newly adopted Sate Law that provides for the protection of our waterways through environmentally sound land development practices.

The County’s Stormwater Management Design Manual is a design manual with lots of technical information for the purpose of providing design guidance to developer engineers who are engaged in developing parcels of land within in Prince George’s County. The manual includes design criteria, computations methods, review and permitting processes, and construction inspection. The new design manual emphasizes Best Management Practices (BMP) through Environmental Site Design (ESD) methods. Some examples ofNon Structural BMP’s are: green roofs, permeable pavement, reinforced turf, disconnection of rooftop runoff, sheet flow to conservation areas, rainwater harvesting, submerged gravel wetland, landscape infiltration, infiltration berms, dry wells, microbioretention, rain gardens, swales, and enhanced filters. The ESD is the actual design practice.

The impact on the City is good. The City will be compliant through County oversight by DER and DPIE with the Maryland Department of Environment (MOE) mandated regulations such as the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and Watershed Improvement Program, Phase II (WIP2) that require the reduction of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMLD) – which require the reduction of phosphorous, nitrogen, and suspended solids from entering our local and national waterways from land development activities. Overall, the impact to the City is what State law mandates. All developments must and will follow the Maryland State Stormwater Regulations. The County was granted the authority from the State to oversee that the stormwater management law is followed. The County has only incorporated the State regulations into their design manual.

Pepco Warns Customers of Fake Invoices

Pepco is warning its customers that scammers posing as third-party energy suppliers are sending fake utility bills via email to some utility customers around the country. The email asks that customers click on a link contained within the email. It is suspected that, by clicking the link, the customer’s computer could become infected with a virus or malware.

Pepco asks customers to only pay their utility bill by visiting pepco.com or by sending the hard copy of the remittance portion of the invoice through the mail. Customers should not open any email asking that payment be made on their utility bill unless sent by Pepco or by the customers’ respective third party energy supplier.

Many companies, including Pepco, contact customers in person or via phone for various reasons. If someone claims to represent a company, whether the company is Pepco or another entity, it is important that customers take precautions to verify that the person is affiliated with the company, especially if that person is requesting an immediate monetary payment. When addressing past due accounts, Pepco never endorses a specific form of payment. Instead, multiple payment options are always given to the customer.

Pepco advises customers to ask for official photo identification from any person who shows up at their door. Employees from reputable companies, such as Pepco, will carry official company identification cards. If proper identification cannot be produced, customers should notify police and the company with whom the individual claims to be associated.

Similarly, if someone calls saying they represent a certain company, customers should ask them to verify their identity and affiliation. If customers have any doubt about the validity of a person’s claim to represent Pepco, they should call the company immediately at 202-833-7500.

Fatal Accident on Route 1

Police investigates hit-and-run incident

Prince George’s County Police – Car involved in hit-and-run incident in College Park

A student was fatally hit by a car early this morning near the campus and was later pronounced dead.

The police is investigating the incident based on the footage obtained from the surveillance camera system on Route 1.

Please see here for more details.

We’re all saddened by this sad news. Our staff is in the process of obtaining information about the fatality and will provide additional information to you when we receive it.

UPDATE: 6:00pm. The driver involved in the incident has turned himself in. More here.

Also, The vehicle believed to be involved in the collision has been recovered . Police has also released the identity of the victim: 22-year-old Cory Hubbard of West Hampton Beach, New York. More..