People's Counsel Sandra Mattavous-Frye is serving her third term as People's Counsel after she was reappointed by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser in 2015. First appointed by Mayor Vincent Gray, she was unanimously confirmed by the Council of the District of Columbia and sworn-in in 2011. Ms. Mattavous-Frye leads the DC Office of the People's Counsel (OPC), as the statutory advocate representing consumers of natural gas, electric, water, and telephone services.
Ms. Mattavous-Frye has shown the highest levels of leadership, commitment and dedication in representing utility ratepayers in the District of Columbia throughout her 30+ -year tenure with the office. She believes consumers are entitled to safe, affordable and reliable utility and energy services and must have a place at the table in the regulatory process.
During her career with the Office of the People's Counsel, Ms. Mattavous-Frye has advocated for ratepayers on critical issues, including the transition of the utility regulatory compact, deregulation and emerging competition in both energy and telecommunications, smart grid development, energy efficiency, conservation management and consumer rights. In 2013, Attorney Mattavous-Frye received the University of the District of Columbia Advocate for Justice Award in recognition of her career in public interest law, and in 2016 she received the State Regulatory Practitioner Award from the Energy Bar Association for demonstrated professional competence in energy law throughout her career; and in 2018, received the Outstanding Citizens Award from the DC Federation of Citizens Associations.
Prior to becoming the People's Counsel, Ms. Mattavous-Frye served in various positions at OPC, including Deputy People's Counsel, Director of Litigation and Energy Section Trial Supervisor. In recent years, Ms. Mattavous-Frye has led OPC-initiated proceedings and initiatives including the following:
- Competitive Energy Suppliers Investigation - OPC initiated an investigation into the abusive marketing and solicitation practices of some competitive or third party energy suppliers, and secured a formal Public Service Commission investigation. The proceeding resulted in OPC negotiating a settlement which provided low income emergency energy assistance and refunds to hundreds of consumers. The People's Counsel also met with members of the U.S. Senate and federal officials to discuss the need to address fraudulent business practices employed by competitive energy suppliers.
- Horizons 2015 Energy Symposium - In April 2015, OPC sponsored the first of its kind consumer energy symposium to connect District residents with notable energy and technology experts. Consumers learned how to better utilize their energy resources and save money at the day-long conference.
- Energy Efficiency and Sustainability - Established the first OPC Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Section to increase awareness of energy efficiency, renewable and sustainable energy options among DC consumers in all wards and income levels.
- Value of Solar Study - Pursuant to a DC Council directive to conduct a study to review and assess emerging alternatives for energy choice for residential consumers, OPC launched the District of Columbia's first Value of Solar study. Given the growing importance of solar in DC's energy landscape, OPC believed that an assessment of the District's solar capacity, costs and benefits would be a valuable tool for policymakers and energy stakeholders as they assess the costs and benefits of solar deployment.
There were two central components to the project:
An assessment of solar capacity and value for DC overall and
A review of low-income solar access issues and challenges.
Ms. Mattavous-Frye also has led OPC efforts to protect ratepayers during recent and significant utility proceedings. They have included
The Pepco/Exelon merger, which was the largest ever in the District of Columbia;
The Mayor's powerline undergrounding initiative which addressed the long-term issue of storm-related outages;
Petitions for investigations into Verizon's delivery of service to District residents; and
Review of a cost recovery mechanism for the Washington Gas Light Company's accelerated pipeline replacement plan.
Notably, Ms. Mattavous-Frye has achieved results for the ratepayers of District of Columbia not only through formal proceedings, but also through working in a collaborative manner with stakeholders.
Key to her commitment, Ms. Mattavous-Frye has represented the Office of the People's Counsel before countless community groups, industry and government leaders, and in governmental oversight, federal regulatory and judicial proceedings. She actively participates in policy development and study with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC); and the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA). A graduate of the District's Antioch School of Law, People's Counsel Mattavous-Frye is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals, and the DC and Maryland bars. She is a resident of Ward 5.