Cat McCue, Communications Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 434-293-6373
The Virginia Senate Commerce and Labor Committee is considerng legislation this afternoon regarding the proposed repeal of the 2015 “rate freeze” for electric utilities and overhauling the process for establishing customer rates going forward.
The State Corporation Commission and Virginia Attorney General’s office — both charged with ensuring monopoly utilities don’t rip off Virginia consumers — have concluded that the legislative proposal could cost ratepayers billions of dollars more, effectively continuing the rate freeze and charging customers twice for utility investments. Moreover, in a provision that has garnered less attention thus far, the bill would skirt normal SCC oversight for utility spending of ratepayer money up to $50 billion on “undergrounding” power lines.
The proposal is largely that of Dominion Energy, the largest electric utility in Virginia and long the largest corporate donor in state politics.
A statement from Appalachian Voices Executive Director Tom Cormons
“Our elected representatives must refuse any bill that allows utilities to charge customers twice for the same project and lets Dominion spend up to $50 billion of our money without SCC review to put power lines underground. Each of these provisions is problematic, so this is a huge double-whammy.
“Lawmakers should not be duped by Dominion’s talking points, which camouflage provisions that remain in this latest version of the bill that would rip billions of dollars out of the pockets of Virginia families and businesses. This bill is worse than the 2015 rate freeze, allowing Dominion to continue to overcharge us and make a 110 percent profit by spending that money.”