Northam proposal would use Dominion Energy overearnings to fund utility relief
Gov. Ralph Northam is pushing a plan to use Dominion Energy’s overearnings to go toward utility relief for Virginia residents affected by the government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor’s proposal seeks to distribute Dominion’s overearnings between 2017-2019 to forgive unpaid residential utility accounts to provide economic relief and to further prevent Dominion from shifting those unpaid amounts onto its other customers currently in good standing, and to provide a direct refund of a portion to all customers, not just residential customers.
The proposal has the support of Attorney General Mark Herring, whose response to the pandemic includes having his office file a petition with the SCC seeking an emergency order for a moratorium on utility service disconnections
“The COVID-19 pandemic has through Virginia into an economic and unemployment crisis the likes of which none of us have ever seen. Thousands of Virginians are struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table for their families and we should be working towards giving them some relief during these unprecedented times,” Herring said. “The governor’s budget proposal would give Virginians substantial economic and utility relief without putting that burden on the ratepayers, which is why I am urging the General Assembly to approve it. The only way we are going to get through these tough and uncertain times is by working together and helping each other.”
The current state budget seeks to forgive $74 million in customer debt. The Northam proposal shifts the burden for funding that amount from taxpayers to Dominion shareholders.
“The Commonwealth should require this state-sanctioned monopoly, that earned exceedingly more over the last three years than authorized, to share the economic burden brought on by this pandemic with its shareholders and provide Virginians with the relief that they so desperately need right now,” Herring said.