VPM: May 7, 2019

Coalition Wants to Open Virginia's Energy Market up to Competition

By Mallory Noe-Payne, VPM

An unlikely coalition of conservative and progressive grassroots groups announced an effort today to take on Dominion Energy, along with Virginia’s entire energy market.

Virginia has a regulated monopoly utility system. Adrian Moore, Vice President of the Reason Foundation, says that’s not the way it has to be. Other states have competitive markets.

“We all know that there’s solar and wind out there but most of us don’t have an opportunity to use it or consume it,” Moore said. “We need to unleash that so that consumers can drive the innovation and the technology that’s used in electricity.”

That argument has brought together a diverse group of environmentalists, libertarians and consumer advocates, called Virginia Energy Reform Coalition.

Brennan Gilmore is with Clean Virginia, one of the coalition’s member groups. He’s confidant in their ability to restructure the system, because he says they have sound ideas.

Their main idea is simple – allow utilities to either own the infrastructure or provide the service. Just not both. Coalition members say that’s how Dominion gets away with overcharging Virginians and stifling competition and technological advances.

A spokesperson for Dominion says the company’s customers already get a great value and that deregulation would be “a step backward.”

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.