RTD Letter to the Editor: May 15, 2019

Holding Dominion Energy accountable for actions

Richmond Times Dispatch | Letter to the Editor

By, Brennan Gilmore, Clean Virginia Executive Director

Holding Dominion Energy Accountable for Actions

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

If it seemed like the whole world was out to get Dominion Energy last week, it was for good reason. Locking Virginia into unneeded fossil fuel infrastructure, misleading regulators and cheating customers were just a few of the very valid complaints hurled at Dominion in legal proceedings, shareholder meetings and headlines.

Let’s recap:

  • The world’s leading tech companies — including Apple, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft — demanded Dominion Energy drop Atlantic Coast Pipeline plans and invest in renewable energy to meet demand from Virginia data centers.
  • The State Corporation Commission called out Dominion for some funny business in its integrated resource plan filing and slammed the utility for its lack of transparency. Dominion told the regulatory agency that it planned to spend $8.26 billion on new projects, but told Wall Street it would spend more than double that amount. Did Dominion think nobody would notice that $8.25 billion turned into $17 billion in just weeks?
  • Dominion’s shareholders also had a bone to pick regarding Dominion’s failure to plan for climate change and the utility’s board oversight. In a rebuke to current CEO and board chair Thomas Farrell, nearly half of the votes cast at Dominion’s shareholder meeting supported the creation of an independent board chair.
  • An unprecedented coalition of unlikely allies launched a vision to reform Virginia’s energy market. The Virginia Energy Reform Coalition includes groups from across the policy spectrum. The coalition laid out a course for breaking up electric monopolies to lower energy prices, increase consumer choices and make Virginia a leader in the transition to a 21st-century energy sector.

Responding to months of similar bad news, Dominion recently launched a (ratepayer-subsidized) advertising campaign with the tagline “Actions Speak Louder.” Thankfully for Virginia, regulators and ratepayers are finally holding Dominion to account for theirs.