BUSINESS

Pepco: Worst company has worst week, ever

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It's hard to feel bad for Pepco — especially if you're a Pepco customer — but somehow, it's hard not to feel bad for the utility company after the week it's had. The bad publicity just kept piling up: In each of the past four days, the company's media relations department opened the paper (or Web browser) to another negative story about them.

Not much pep to this co. these days.

It began on Monday, when executives returned from a weekend at their beach homes to discover that Business Insider had named Pepco the most hated company in the country, ahead of penny-pinching, fee-hiding Bank of America and such beloved cable companies as Time Warner and Comcast.

On Tuesday, the president of Pepco said he disagreed with the ranking, admitting at the same time that Pepco's "reputation is tarnished." DCist promptly took them to task, reminding readers why Pepco earned that mark.

The D.C Office of the People's Counsel called Pepco's proposed rate hike "shameless" on Wednesday. The company had announced that it would charge users 5.3 percent more, generating an extra $42 million per year. The OPC said that Pepco should use that money to make their service "above Third World status." And then, on the same day, two men posing as Pepco employees robbed and fatally shot the owner of a laundromat in Bowie.

Speaking of killing: On Thursday, a Montgomery County Councilman Roger Berliner called Pepco CEO Joe Rigby "the Paul Bunyan of trees," and said the company's workers "butcher trees rather than trim them."

Which brings us today. In a well-written press release, Pepco expressed sympathy to the friends and family of Wednesday's victim, and reminded customers to verify that the person coming into your home is, in fact, a Pepco employee. In actually working today, the men and women of the media relations department have earned our grudging respect. We would hardly have blamed them all for calling in sick.

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