THE HISTORIC WINS in Virginia’s legislative elections last November were supposed to herald a brighter future for progressives in the state. But one of the first major initiatives out of the capitol, which faces a key vote in the House of Delegates tomorrow, could well be a gift to electric utility Dominion Energy, which was partially responsible for getting Democrat Ralph Northam into the governor’s mansion.
HB 1558 and its identical Senate version SB 966 are on the verge of passingboth houses of the legislature. The legislation began as an effort to reverse a disastrous 2015 law that froze utility rates at exceedingly high levels, creating between $400 million to $800 million in overcharges just in 2015 and 2016. However, Dominion Energy, which has near-monopoly power in Virginia and substantial sway over its politics due to being the state’s largest corporate donor, was able to shape the bill to its liking.