Sierra Club: Dominion’s ‘rate freeze’ would hurt Virginians

sierra club virginiaToday the House Commerce and Labor Subcommittee #3 reported HB1558, sponsored by Del. Kilgore (R-Gate City) and Del. Bagby (D-Richmond), by a vote of 7-2 to the full House Commerce and Labor Committee.

This bill is purported to end the so-called “rate freeze” put in place in 2015 but instead radically overhauls the way that monopoly utilities are regulated in Virginia, reducing rather than increasing accountability.

In response, Kate Addleson, Director of the Sierra Club Virginia chapter, released the following statement.

“This bill would allow monopoly utility Dominion Energy Virginia to effectively regulate itself, to the detriment of their customers and Virginia’s energy future. It would codify and encourage further abuse of corporate power over Virginia electric customers.

“Dominion is attempting to use its influence over the General Assembly to extend the “refund freeze” and make it legal to keep hundreds of millions in annual windfall profits the company has not earned.

“The SCC’s analysis agrees that if this bill were to become law it would mean just pennies on the dollar returned to customers after three years of overpaying for electricity. Passage of this bill means it would be nearly impossible for the SCC to lower base rates in future years. This adds up to billions of dollars in additional costs for Dominion’s customers.

“This “refund freeze” rip-off takes Virginia energy policy in the wrong direction and should be rejected. This plan does little more than pay lip service to complicated hurdles Virginia’s energy system faces. A better, customer-focused process would create space for stakeholders and experts to weigh in on technical issues like grid modernization, energy efficiency and the transition to fully clean electric generation.”

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