Ken Plum: Electricity will be cheaper and cheaper

kenplum2Under a bill passed by the General Assembly in the 2015 session and signed by the Governor, the cost of electricity in Virginia will go down next month, and the base rate of electricity will be frozen for the next five years.

Critics of the “Dominion bill” seem to have not read the provisions of the legislation as it passed or do not understand it. With State Corporation Commission approval, electric bills for consumers will go down 5.5 percent on April 1. For a typical residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours per month, the electric bill would be $109.55 per month or $6.40 less than before. Virginians already have some of the lowest electric rates in the region with rates that are 18.8 percent below the national average. The freezing of base rates to 2019 will create regulatory and rate stability for the utility as it faces stricter federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations on carbon emissions that are likely to force the company to close some or all of the coal-fired power plants it continues to operate and will provide lower bills for consumers.

I like the fact that the utility is moving forward to meet EPA standards rather than resisting or fighting the regulations in court. The stability provided by the bill will allow the investor-owned utility to move forward on what are necessary and expensive steps to clean up the air. Beyond the rate issue, new legislation declares up to 500 megawatts of solar energy to be in the public interest. With the current cost of solar energy generation the utility would not have been able to get regulatory approval for the expansion because it costs more than conventional sources of electricity generation. This will be a 15-fold increase in the authorized amount of solar energy in the Commonwealth and will be enough solar to power 125,000 homes. Additionally, the Assembly approved creation of the Virginia Solar Development Authority to promote expansion of solar energy in the Commonwealth.

Other notable actions by the General Assembly this session related to electricity include a provision for the first time that utilities fund an energy efficiency program for low-income, elderly and disabled customers. Eligible customers will be able to get one-time financial assistance for energy efficiency improvements plus long-term benefits of lower energy bills. A bill passed this session directs the Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy to establish underwriting and other guidelines for local government-financed loans for energy efficiency improvements. Energy efficiency is the cheapest way to meet future demand.

Dominion Foundation is a major contributor to non-profit organizations in our community and throughout the state. Its political action arm is a significant supporter of political candidates of both parties. While I fully acknowledge both these facts, I vote for legislation related to electricity generation only when it will ensure reliable, low-cost, and cleaner electricity for my constituents.



augusta free press
augusta free press news

UVA Basketball Fans!

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Buy here.

AFP Business

As professional consultants, Augusta Free Press LLC provides clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia and beyond with marketing and PR solutions including website design, SEO, TV/radio, video work, branding and logos, social media and overall marketing campaign design and implementation. Augusta Free Press LLC was founded in 2002.

Web Design

Augusta Free Press has designed more than 800 websites for clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia. We take care of all facets of web design – visual design, layout design, content development and SEO. Short on staff? We’ll work with you to update your AFP-designed website in a timely manner or train your staff to make changes.

Marketing/Social Media Management

Augusta Free Press manages advertising campaigns for small- and medium-sized businesses across Virginia. You don’t need to hire a full-time marketing coordinator. Bring the experience of the Augusta Free Press team to work for you – for a fraction of the cost.

Graphic Design

Augusta Free Press will help you take your vision to the next level. From branding and logos to print materials, our team will work with you to develop products to showcase your business. From brochures and rack cards to full-color magazines or print/digital ads, we’ve got you covered.

Event Planning/Fundraising

Augusta Free Press will help you plan the best event for your organization. From an open house or anniversary to a 5K or Pay Per View, we can handle it all. Looking for training for your sales staff? We can help energize your employees or board. Need ideas to raise more money? Let us help you plan a successful event. Want to hold a news conference or need help with a press release? We can do that too.

Click here for more.