Several bills have crossed over in the Virginia legislature that would hinder the State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) ability to rule whether or not clean energy projects would be in the ratepayers’ interest. By mandating that it is in the “public interest” if utilities like Dominion own clean energy projects rather than independent developers, bills HB 1526, HB 1664/SB 851, SB 860, SB 998 would allow Dominion and other utilities a guaranteed rate of return that would raise customers’ bills simply to increase profits for the utility without giving the SCC a say in the process.   Virginia ratepayers need protection – send a letter to Virginia legislators today urging them to vote NO on these bills!

Take action by sending a letter to the Virginia House and Senate representatives. Click Here


HB1664, HB1526/SB 851, SB860, SB998
Dump unreasonable costs on residential rate payers

Electric utility business models are evolving.  This legislation mires Virginia residential ratepayers in the past and commits them to significant long-term costs.  It extends Virginia’s record of making complex critical decisions under time-pressured legislative conditions instead of trusting the State Corporation Commission (SCC) to do its job.

Wind:

  • By extending the old utility business model, ratepayers will have to pay  $14 billion to Dominion to build and own the off-shore wind project. If instead, the facility was built by an independent wind developer, it would only cost $8 billion. The energy could be sold at a fixed price for the life of the facility, saving money for all customers.  Dominion must hire an experienced wind developer to build the project. Dominion would be allowed to add interest charges and a guaranteed profit adding $6 billion to the cost of the projectIf an independent developer builds the project, Dominion could still be involved and earn money providing financing and profit from tax credits.

 

  • The SCC can review the costs of the project, but the legislation does not allow it to refuse approval to build the facility if it does not serve the interests of the ratepayers.

Solar:

  • While this legislation allows a portion of the solar promoted by the bill to be owned by non-utility entities, it continues the last century practice of placing it under utility control.  It rewards utilities for developing large solar farms which require extra costs for transmission, substations, etc. Instead, moderate sized solar facilities could be located near customers on already disturbed land that may be of little value for other uses or on buildings. This would also make the grid more flexible and reliable!

The Future

  • Virginia’s outdated regulations encourage our utilities to build and own facilities and to view involvement of customers and others as harmful.

 

  • In the future, it is clear that utilities will be rewarded differently.  We still need them and they will continue to earn a fair rate of return.  They may earn extra for serving ratepayers better under performance-based rates.  They just won’t own everything or control the system alone.

We need to be moving toward a modern system instead of holding tight to the one that served us well since the 1950’s.  This legislation ties Virginia to the old system.

Stop HB1664, HB1526/SB 851, SB860, and SB998 We can work collaboratively to create a modern approach to providing electricity, unleashing the creativity of the large and small business community and customers to improve our environment, create more jobs, and lower energy costs.

Questions? Contact Irene Leech, Friends of Buckingham, vaconsumeradvocate@gmail.com or 540 230 5373

Again, please: Take action by sending a letter to the Virginia House and Senate representatives. Click Here

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