Earlier this month, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed into law HB 167, which protects utility customers from paying for large new gas pipeline costs if the State Corporation Commission (SCC) determines that new pipeline capacity is not necessary for reliability and is not the least-cost way to meet electricity demand. Delegate Lee Ware was the chief patron of the bill, which passed unanimously in both the House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia.
We applaud Governor Northam, Delegate Ware and the rest of the General Assembly for protecting Virginians by ensuring regulators have the right tools to prevent electric monopolies from gouging consumers for unnecessary pipelines.
We have long held that Virginia families and businesses should not be on the hook for new natural gas projects like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline that are wholly unnecessary to meet electricity needs.
Given that existing pipelines are sufficient to meet Virginia’s energy needs, and given the Clean Economy Act, also recently by the governor, requires retirement of all utility-owned gas-fired power plants in the state by 2045, the future of projects like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is cast into further doubt.
News coverage of the repercussions of the bill:
Southeast Energy News, New Virginia law could be Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s greatest barrier yet
Energy & Environment News, How a GOP-backed plan threatens the Atlantic Coast pipeline