SCC rejects Dominion Integrated Resource Plan

Virginia SCCThe Virginia State Corporation Commission issued an order on Friday rejecting Dominion Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan, which lays out the utility’s plans for meeting energy needs for years to come in Virginia.

This is the first time the Virginia SCC has ever outright rejected a Integated Resource Plan from the energy company.

The rejection was due to a failure on the part of Dominion Energy to include a least-cost plan, a failure to fully meet the requirements of 2018’s Senate Bill 966 and overinflated load forecasts.

The commission also required Dominion to include the energy efficiency and demand-side management programs required by 2018’s Senate Bill 966 in their modeling, which will significantly change future load forecasts.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline project relies heavily on claims for need in Dominion’s IRP. Environmental advocates are saying the SCC’s recognition that Dominion load forecasts aren’t reliable will put a significant hole in the company’s arguments for the pipeline.

“Since at least 2015, Dominion has told federal regulators that the pipeline is needed because the demand for power is growing. But now we know that the company has been getting its predictions wrong for years,” said Southern Environmental Law Center attorney Will Cleveland. “If Virginia doesn’t need new gas-fired power plants, we also don’t need the ACP to run them.”

The SCC decision also puts a fine point on the risk that the ACP poses for utility customers. Dominion plans to charge its customers for the cost of the pipeline—including the 15% profit that goes to the company’s shareholders—on their power bills.

“It’s time that decision makers recognize the ACP for what it is: an abuse of Dominion’s monopoly power that will hurt the people and environment of Virginia,” said SELC senior attorney Greg Buppert.

“By acknowledging Dominion’s refusal to accurately forecast Virginia’s electricity needs, the State Corporation Commission has taken an important step in protecting ratepayers from rampant cost overruns associated with the high quantity of unneeded fracked-gas pipelines and plants that Dominion said it needed to meet its inflated load forecasts,” said Kate Addleson, director of the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club.

“The State Corporation Commission also acted in the best interest of Virginians by requiring Dominion to include fuel transportation costs for fossil fuel infrastructure in their modeling, including those associated with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. We hope the State Corporation Commission will continue to work on behalf of Virginians, like they did today, and expand access to the affordable, clean renewable energy more than two out of three Virginia voters want,” Addleson said.

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