SCC invites comments on program that reduces electric utility payments for low-income customers

Virginia SCCThe State Corporation Commission invites comments from the public on establishing a universal service fee to be paid by retail customers of Dominion Energy Virginia and Appalachian Power to support a new program that limits utility payments for qualified customers.

The Virginia Clean Economy Act, enacted in the 2020 session of the General Assembly, established in its provisions a program designed to limit electric utility payments of persons or households participating in certain public assistance programs based on a percentage of their income.

The Act directs the SCC to initiate proceedings to establish the rates, terms and conditions of a universal service fee to fund the program. The service fee will be paid by the customers of Dominion and Appalachian through their utility bills. The Act requires the SCC to issue final orders concerning these proceedings by Dec. 31.

The Commission established separate cases for the two utilities, directing them to propose rates and provide the information necessary to support the proposed universal service fees. The Act also directs the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and the Virginia Department of Social Services to convene a stakeholder group to develop recommendations regarding the implementation of the universal fee. The Commission encourages the agencies to participate in the SCC proceedings.

Comments may be submitted through the SCC’s website by Oct. 7 at scc.virginia.gov/casecomments/Submit-Public-Comments. Simply scroll down to case number PUR-2020-00109 for Dominion or PUR-2020-00117 for Appalachian, and click SUBMIT COMMENTS.

A combined hearing for public witness testimony in both cases will be convened by telephone at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 13. Public witnesses intending to provide oral testimony must pre-register with the Commission by 5 p.m. on Oct. 8. Witnesses will be called by SCC staff on Oct. 13 to testify in the order in which they registered. Testimony will be limited to five minutes. The public witness hearing will be webcast at: scc.virginia.gov/pages/Webcasting.

Public witnesses wishing to provide testimony may pre-register in one of three ways:

  • Completing a public witness form for case number PUR-2020-00109 and PUR-2020-00117 on the SCC’s website at: scc.virginia.gov/pages/Webcasting
  • E-mailing the same form (PDF version on the same website as above) to SCCInfo@scc.virginia.gov
  • Calling the SCC at 804-371-9141 during normal business hours (8:15 a.m. – 5 p.m.) and providing their name and the phone number you wish the Commission to call to reach you during the hearing

For PUR-2020-00109, the Commission has scheduled a hearing on Oct. 14, to receive opening statements, testimony, and evidence offered by the company, respondents and the SCC staff. The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the SCC’s courtroom on the second floor of the Tyler Building, 1300 East Main Street.

For PUR-2020-00117, the evidentiary hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 15.


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