Virginia House of Delegates Improves Bad Rate Freeze Repeal, But More Work Needs to be Done
RICHMOND, Virginia– Today, the Virginia House of Delegates passed House Bill 1588, a utility regulation overhaul spearheaded by Dominion Energy, in a vote of 63-35. Introduced by Delegate Terry Kilgore (R-Wise County) & Delegate Lamont Bagby (D-Richmond), HB 1588 was improved greatly by an amendment introduced by Delegate David Toscano (D-Charlottesville) to eliminate the infamous “double dip.” The bill would also make groundbreaking investments in energy efficiency and open the door for new renewables.
But it still is far from perfect: it offers a one-time refund of $200 million but does not give the State Corporation Commission (SCC) the authority to do a full audit of over-earnings from 2015 through 2017 and require Dominion to issue a complete refund. The bill also gives utilities a blank check for powerline undergrounding that will be paid for by ratepayers with no SCC oversight.
In response, Mike Tidwell, Director of the CCAN Action Fund, released the following statement:
“We at the CCAN Action Fund thank Delegate David Toscano and Delegate Sam Rasoul for introducing amendments to improve Dominion Energy’s regulatory overhaul. Delegate Toscano’s successful amendment fixed the troubling issue of ‘double dipping’ in the bill.
“However, the bill still allows Dominion to take advantage of Virginia ratepayers and fails to require the company to fully refund the hundreds of millions of dollars it has overcharged Virginians over the past couple years.
“Delegate Rasoul’s proposed amendment to reign in language that gives Dominion a blank check to spend billions in ratepayer money on powerline undergrounding failed. This bill also cuts a refund check for Virginia’s ratepayers that is just pennies on the dollar in comparison to what the utility has overcharged as estimated by the State Corporation Commission (SCC). The bill’s current language also caps rate reductions in the first rate review at $50 million, and blocks the SCC from carrying out a full audit of Dominion’s overcharges. The people of the Commonwealth deserve a full audit done through a rate case.
“Today’s action by the House of Delegates was an improvement over the bill that passed the Senate last week. However, more work needs to be done to prevent Dominion Energy from taking advantage of the ratepayers of Virginia.”