Clean Virginia joins with fellow advocacy organizations in support of energy efficiency
By Diana Williams | May 12, 2022

Dominion lags behind peer utilities in meeting energy efficiency goals for residential customers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Richmond — Energy reform organization Clean Virginia requested Wednesday in public testimony that the State Corporation Commission (SCC) require Dominion Energy to accelerate its energy efficiency outreach and education campaign, particularly in light of the company’s request to increase customer bills.

“Despite the value of energy efficiency to customers and the codified financial incentive for Dominion Energy included in the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA), the company’s long-term plan still fails to meet the law’s minimum targets and the vast majority of Dominion customers have no awareness of Dominion’s residential energy efficiency programs at all,” Cassady Craighill, Clean Virginia’s Deputy Director testified in remarks to the SCC.

Dominion Energy, Virginia’s largest utility monopoly, has filed for approval of a set of Energy Efficiency programs necessary to comply with the energy savings targets established in the Virginia Clean Economy Act. Dominion is not yet on track to comply with these savings targets, according to an analysis ordered by the SCC.

Compared to peer utilities, the performance of Dominion’s residential energy efficiency programs is notably low. Only 19% of surveyed residential customers were familiar with Dominion Energy programs and only 13% participated in a program in the last three years,  according to a long-term plan report required by the SCC. The report included several areas of improvement and emphasized the need to raise public awareness and consolidate the different utility programs.

“It shouldn’t be a battle to get energy efficiency tools in place, but it is because it interferes with the entrenched power and profit of utility monopolies. Regardless, putting energy efficiency first will put Virginians, and not profits, first. And that’s what we need,” said Laura Gonzalez, Energy and Regulatory Policy Manager at Clean Virginia.

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About The Author

Diana Williams
Diana Williams (she/her)

Diana loves telling stories about the human experience. She’s the founder of Williams Multimedia, a production company specializing in audio storytelling. Her reporting has focused on histories of people of color, LGBTQ+ people and the intersections where those two communities meet. Diana holds an MA in journalism and public affairs from American University. Diana and her husband Clarence have lived with their two sons in the Shenandoah Valley since 1997. She is on the Board of Directors for the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge and the Virginia School Boards Association. She is also Vice Chair of the Waynesboro School Board.

Legislators should invest in Virginia’s future, not Dominion Energy’s stock
April 28, 2022

This blog was updated on May 4th with the addition of stock ownership by several Virginia lawmakers.

By Kayli Ottomanelli, Clean Virginia Advocacy Fellow

Nearly 60 U.S. Congress members made headlines last month when they violated federal law by failing to properly report their stock ownership and financial trades in accordance with the decades-old Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge, or Stock Act. These elected officials have faced widespread criticism for using their political positions and access to nonpublic information for personal financial gain. 

Unfortunately, the issue of elected officials serving their stock portfolios rather than their constituents extends beyond just the federal level – it exists here in Virginia, as well. Currently, six members of the Virginia General Assembly own substantial quantities of stock in Dominion Energy. According to annual candidate and incumbent disclosures, which were updated this month, these lawmakers own anywhere from $825,000 to $1.25 million in Dominion stock combined. Additionally, three members of the Virginia legislature, Minority Leader Tommy Norment, Senator Bill DeSteph, and Delegate John Avoli each owned at least $250,000 worth of Dominion Energy stock alone in 2021. 

Although opponents of stock-ban legislation have asserted that the United States is a free-market economy and everyone, including elected officials, should be able to participate in stock trading, this argument becomes problematic when lawmakers are purchasing stock in the corporate monopolies they are tasked with regulating, as is the case with Dominion Energy. Captive customers of utility monopolies, like the two of three Virginians that are Dominion customers, lack the luxury of shopping around for a better deal on their electricity. It is a clear conflict of interest for elected officials to participate in legislative matters in which they have a vested financial interest. 

Currently, conflict of interest laws require Virginia lawmakers to recuse themselves from legislative matters when they have a personal interest in the affected corporation. Although well-intentioned, in practice this legislation is unenforceable under Virginia’s lax disclosure rules. The Virginia General Assembly Conflicts of Interest Act requires any legislator who receives $5,000 or more in dividend payouts from stock ownership to disqualify themselves from participating in votes on relevant legislation. However, candidate and incumbent disclosure rules only require elected officials to disclose their investments within an estimated range that spans nearly $50,000, rather than reporting the exact value. As a result, it is impossible to tell just how much legislators are financially benefiting from certain votes.

Due to these legislative loopholes, elected officials have continued to participate in matters in which they have a vested financial interest. For example, with at least $250,000 in Dominion stock holdings, Senator DeSteph likely received nearly $9,000 in dividends from his shares in Dominion Energy last year, clearly placing him above the $5,000 threshold set by the General Assembly Conflicts of Interest Act. Despite this, he is still actively participating in legislative matters that impact how the corporate utility is regulated. In the 2020 legislative session, Senator DeSteph cast the only opposing vote on a piece of bipartisan utility legislation intended to give the State Corporation Commission more discretion to reduce the rate of return on common equity for investor-owned electric utilities. This begs the question: how can we expect legislators to fairly regulate Dominion Energy, when they themselves directly profit off of the corporation?

To strengthen existing legislation and hold lawmakers accountable, Delegate Dan Helmer introduced a bill (House Bill 1252) during the 2022 legislative session to prohibit any member of the General Assembly from owning stock in public service corporations like Dominion during their term of office. This bill would directly eliminate conflict of interests and ensure legislators are acting in the interest of Virginians, not their wallets. Passing this common-sense bill could also help restore public trust and faith in our institutions. Unfortunately, this bill was sent to the House Rules Committee where it never received a hearing. By denying the legislation a hearing in committee, lawmakers effectively killed the bill without having to vote on it. This method of killing legislation is particularly underhanded, as it allows elected officials to sidestep taking a stance on this issue on public record and dodge any electoral consequences for their actions. 

Share this blog post now on social media to help protect future good governance legislation and to take a stance against our elected officials being allowed to profit off of their legislative decisions. 

House Republicans block ban on personal use of campaign funds, ignoring ethics recommendations
By Cassady Craighill | March 2, 2022

Virginia remains out of step with nearly every other state and federal government on ban 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Richmond — Virginia House Republicans have now twice blocked a ban on the personal use of campaign funds this session, which the Virginia Senate passed nearly unanimously last month on a 37-3 vote. Republicans in a House Privileges and Elections subcommittee killed the bipartisan legislation carried by both Democratic Senator John Bell (Senate Bill 463) and Republican Delegate Mike Cherry (House Bill 1296).

In response, Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore said, 

“There is nothing currently stopping a political candidate in Virginia from using unlimited campaign funds, for which there is no cap in Virginia, to purchase a vacation house or a swanky country club membership. It’s no wonder that public trust in our elected officials is at an all-time low. This legalization of grift is deeply embarrassing for Virginia — nearly every other state and the federal government ban the personal use of campaign funds.” 

The Privileges and Elections Subcommittee in the General Assembly’s lower chamber failed to advance Senate Bill 463 earlier this morning on a 5-3 party-line vote. The same committee blocked the House companion bill from Del. Cherry last month. Opposition from House Republicans remained strong despite Republican Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment (R-James City) speaking in support of the bill on the Senate floor.

Both bills defined “personal use” using the federal definition, known as the “irrespective test,” which states that any expense incurred that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s campaign for office is deemed ineligible for use of campaign funds with the exception of caregiver costs. An ethics commission first recommended the measure in 2015 as part of the fallout from the corruption conviction of former Governor Robert F. McDonnell, and a bipartisan report released last year that was the result of a joint campaign finance committee process including multiple experts and stakeholders included the move in its suite of campaign finance reform recommendations. A ban on personal use of campaign funds also unanimously passed a Republican-controlled House in 2019 and a Democratic-controlled House in 2020 and 2021. 

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About The Author

Photo of House Republicans block ban on personal use of campaign funds, ignoring ethics recommendations
Cassady Craighill (she/her)

A North Carolina to Virginia transplant via D.C., Cassady has spent over a decade engaging audiences about energy, climate change, and civic engagement. After earning an M.A. from Georgetown University and publishing research about public perceptions of complex technologies, Cassady worked for Greenpeace USA where she developed strategies for communicating about climate impacts, the influence of the oil and gas industry on our democracy, and the energy footprint from the internet. An expert in rapid response communications, Cassady’s quotes have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Associated Press. She lives in Charlottesville with her husband and daughter.

Dominion Energy Virginia customers should receive refunds soon, no thanks to the monopoly
By Diana Williams | February 25, 2022

A freshman lawmaker took on Dominion, demanding customer refunds and scoring a win for Virginians

Virginia’s largest electric utility, Dominion Energy, is required to refund over $300 million to its Virginia customers and cut future rates by $50 million thanks to Del. Suhas Subramanyam’s 2020 consumer protection law (HB 528) and a 2021 settlement between the State Corporation Commission (SCC), the Office of the Attorney General, and the utility monopoly. 

The result of Dominion’s triennial review of rates, also known as a rate case, represents a victory for consumers, with costs of living steadily rising and every dollar needing to count. It’s also clear evidence that more utility regulatory reform is urgently needed. Dominion is getting away with only refunding a fraction of the $1.1 billion it overcharged customers. The settlement further proves that rates could already be lower – the adjustment to future rates is less than a quarter of the $212 million SCC staff recommended. 

Here’s what you need to know about the refunds:

Why are Dominion Energy customers receiving a refund?
House Bill 528 restored the SCC’s authority to establish recovery of costs associated with early retirements of coal plants in a manner that best serves customers. Before this bill, Dominion could unilaterally decide how to recover these large costs. Absent this legislation Dominion would have recovered over $900 million from customers all at once in an attempt to deprive customers of refunds and a rate cut. 

I’m a Dominion Energy customer in Virginia. When will I receive my refund?
Beginning January 29, 2022 and throughout the 2022-2023 period, many Dominion residential customers should receive approximately $67 refunded back to customer accounts in the form of a check or bill credit. The total amount refunded will be based on a residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month from 2017 to 2020. No one will call you to discuss or issue your refund.

Dominion has overcharged customers by $1.1 billion dollars. Why are customers not getting bigger refunds?
Dominion-backed laws have largely handcuffed the SCC in recent years and prevented the agency from taking the appropriate accounting and rate-making measures to protect consumers. For example, Dominion drafted and lobbied extensively to pass the 2018 Grid Modernization Act, which capped rate reductions for customers at only $50 million. 

What happens if Dominion overcharges Virginians again?
Not if, when. Based on current laws, Dominion is overcharging Virginians right now and will continue to do so until the SCC has all the tools it needs to hold utilities accountable and keep prices low for all Virginia families and businesses. Legislators should continue the bipartisan progress to fix the loopholes that generate unearned excess profits and customer overcharges, including restoring the SCC’s authority to properly regulate Dominion.


About The Author

Diana Williams
Diana Williams (she/her)

Diana loves telling stories about the human experience. She’s the founder of Williams Multimedia, a production company specializing in audio storytelling. Her reporting has focused on histories of people of color, LGBTQ+ people and the intersections where those two communities meet. Diana holds an MA in journalism and public affairs from American University. Diana and her husband Clarence have lived with their two sons in the Shenandoah Valley since 1997. She is on the Board of Directors for the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge and the Virginia School Boards Association. She is also Vice Chair of the Waynesboro School Board.

How Virginia Can Improve Its Utility Disconnection Policies
February 7, 2022

By Kayli Ottomanelli, Clean Virginia Advocacy Fellow and Fredericksburg resident 

Virginians across the Commonwealth have experienced a rough winter this year. Icy precipitation has suspended school schedules, shuttered businesses, and stranded hundreds of commuters on roadways. In some areas of the state, heavy snowfall has also been accompanied by widespread power failures and water shutoffs. Nearly 200,000 residents throughout Central and Northeast Virginia lost power for days after a strong winter storm swept across the state last month. Many families had to bundle up to keep warm in their 30-degree living rooms and had to bury their perishables out in the snow. 

These hardships offer a glimpse into what many low-income households in Virginia could endure during the winter months if their utilities are disconnected for non-payment. Virginia currently has among the weakest utility disconnection protections for customers of any state in the south. Most states have seasonal protections for utility consumers that prohibit disconnections when temperatures are below 32℉ or above 95℉, but Virginia lacks these protections. 

Disconnection policies in Virginia vary by utility, subjecting residents to disparate disconnection regulations based on their provider. Of the 41 electric and gas utilities in the state, only Dominion Energy is prohibited from disconnecting consumers due to unpaid bills due to an executive order to halt disconnections during the pandemic, and they will only be mandated to do so until March 2022. Virginia also has no limitations on disconnections during certain months of the year or within specified temperature ranges. However, when temperatures drop dangerously low or climb precipitously, service disruptions that expose households to extreme weather can quickly become a matter of life or death. 

To bridge this critical gap in consumer protections, Delegate Irene Shin has introduced a bill (House Bill 1054) that would protect families by prohibiting public water, gas, and electric utilities from disconnecting essential services during extreme weather events or periods of crisis. Not only does this bill protect vulnerable Virginians from dangerous utility disconnections during times of extreme weather, it also expedites service restoration by allowing utilities to incorporate disconnection and reconnection fees into a payment plan, thereby severing the link between reconnection and fees.

Families should not have to face a potentially fatal situation when they fall behind on their utility bills, but the unfortunate reality is that thousands lose their lives every year from exposure to extreme temperatures. Civil rights organizations uphold that all individuals have the right to affordable energy and uninterrupted essential services. Implementing fair utility disconnection and repayment measures that allow families to heat and cool their homes in the most severe months of the year, such as HB 1054, will literally save lives. 

This bill comes up for a vote in the House soon – act now to tell legislators to protect our most vulnerable individuals by setting fair disconnection rules for electricity, water, and gas utilities in Virginia.

Dominion-backed committees block campaign finance, rate reform bills
February 2, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

CONTACT:

Cassady Craighill, Clean Virginia Communications Director

cassady@cleanvirginia.org, 828-817-3328

February 2, 2022 

Dominion-backed committees block campaign finance, rate reform bills 

Dominion Energy has contributed over $1 million to members of three powerful committees 

Richmond — Members of three key legislative committees backed significantly by Dominion Energy failed to advance bipartisan bills that would prohibit campaign contributions from public utilities and protect Virginians from unnecessarily high electricity bills, a popular talking point last year for Virginia candidates.

“Members of these powerful committees talked a tough game on the campaign trail, but ultimately defaulted to Dominion Energy over their constituents yet again,” said Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore. “Our failed utility regulatory system leaves Virginians, in the best of circumstances, paying some of the highest bills in the nation, being overcharged by hundreds of millions of dollars annually by Dominion, and in the midst of a weather crisis like last month’s snowstorm and grid failure, stuck in dangerous situations with little assurance that there is an end in sight. Dominion’s self-regulation and political manipulation hurts Virginians and it must end.” 

The members of the Privileges and Elections House and Senate committees who voted against the bipartisan bills that sought to ban public utilities regulated by the General Assembly from donating to state lawmakers accepted over $500,000 from Dominion Energy in the past year. These bills included SB 45 introduced by Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax), SB 568 introduced by Sen. Richard Stuart (R-Westmoreland), HB 71 introduced by. Lee Ware (R-Powhatan), and HB 524 introduced by Kelly Fowler (D-Virginia Beach). And despite General Assembly candidates campaigning on lowering high electricity bills for customers, a Republican-controlled House committee failed to advance a bill that sought to remedy the ability of Virginia’s largest utility monopoly Dominion Energy to overcharge customers by over $1.1 billion without issuing full refunds. Del. Ware and Del. Sally Hudson (D-Charlottesville) introduced the bill (HB 1288), referred to by advocates as the Ratepayer Protection Act, marking the third year in a row that lawmakers have introduced bipartisan rate reform legislation. 

“For years, Dominion Energy has rigged the system, contributing gobs of cash to members of the General Assembly, and chipping away at regulators’ ability to fairly oversee Virginia’s electric providers. As a result, the utility monopoly has gotten away with overcharging customers by $1.1 billion in recent years. Each lawmaker that continues to oppose common-sense good governance and rate reform is failing families and small businesses across the Commonwealth,” said Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore.

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‘Commitment to consumer protection’: Clean Virginia responds to Del. Jones’ resignation
December 16, 2021

‘Commitment to consumer protection’: Clean Virginia responds to Del. Jones’ resignation 

Contact: 

Cassady Craighill, Clean Virginia Communications and Advocacy Director, cassady@cleanvirginia.org, 828-817-3328

December 16, 2021 

In response to news that Del. Jay Jones (D-Norfolk) is resigning from his House of Delegate seat representing Virginia’s 89th District, Clean Virginia Political Director Lizzie Hylton said, 

“Delegate Jay Jones has left his mark in the Virginia General Assembly as a consumer protection champion committed to keeping the big boys honest. He led a bipartisan campaign for overdue electric utility reform in Virginia, fighting to return over $1 billion in overcharges from Dominion Energy to Virginia families and small businesses. Jones’ campaign message to prioritize people before corporate utility profit during his bid for Virginia Attorney General energized hundreds of thousands of voters and helped cement the issue of accountability for Virginia’s utility monopolies in statewide elections. We wish him and his growing family good health and the best of luck.” 

“As Virginians face rising everyday expenses and with the severe impacts of the climate crisis having already arrived at the doorsteps of Norfolk’s residents, it is imperative that Del. Jones’ successor and his General Assembly colleagues take up the mantle of climate justice and an affordable and fair clean energy transition that benefits all Virginians.”

Del. Jones patroned multiple utility reform bills in the House of Delegates that sought to restore oversight from Virginia’s electric utility regulators. Clean Virginia Fund endorsed Del. Jones for Attorney General during the 2021 Democratic primary and contributed $250,000 to his campaign. 

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Clean Virginia: Youngkin should continue bipartisan progress on energy, ethics reform
November 3, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

CONTACT:

Cassady Craighill, Clean Virginia Communications and Advocacy Director cassady@cleanvirginia.org, 828-817-3328

Clean Virginia: Youngkin should continue bipartisan progress on energy, ethics reform

10 Clean Virginia-backed House incumbents defend seats against competitive challengers

November 3, 2021

CHARLOTTESVILLE  — In response to the results of Virginia’s 2021 General Elections, Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore said,

“The progress made so far in Virginia on energy and good governance reform is thanks to bipartisan leadership and cooperation. Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin should continue that tradition so that every Virginian will benefit from fair and ethical governance and an affordable clean energy economy.”

“Both gubernatorial candidates knew that refusing direct campaign contributions from Dominion Energy would resonate with voters. Now it’s time for Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin to make good on campaign promises and hold Dominion Energy accountable. There is a powerful contingent of legislators from both parties in the Virginia General Assembly who have fought hard for energy and ethics reform — they must now defend the legislative progress already made that protects Virginia from corporate polluters and the worst impacts of the climate crises, unethical self-dealing, and unaffordable energy costs.”

Clean Virginia’s Political Action Committee, Clean Virginia Fund invested nearly $3 million in the 2021 General Election in key regions, including the districts of ten incumbents who defended their seats against competitive challengers —  Del. Dawn Adams (D-Richmond), Del. Kelly Fowler (D-Virginia Beach), Del. Wendy Gooditis (D-Loudoun), Del. Elizabeth Guzman (D-Woodbridge), Del. Dan Helmer (D-Fairfax), Del. Mike Mullin (D-Newport News), Del. Danica Roem (D-Prince William), Del. Clinton Jenkins (D-Norfolk), Del. Shelly Simonds (D-Newport News), and Del. Rodney Willett (D-Henrico), and in the district of Del. Alex Askew (D-Virginia Beach) a Clean Virginia champion whose race remains uncalled. 

In addition to direct financial support to over 60 candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates, all of whom share a principled stance against accepting campaign contributions from Virginia utility monopolies and owning stock in those companies, canvassers knocked on over 100,000 doors in over a dozen districts. Additionally, a Clean Virginia-funded advertising program featuring an anti-corruption message and Delegate votes to lower electricity bills reached millions of voters on digital platforms. 

The message from voters on doorsteps and online was crystal clear: the era of corporate monopolies ruling Virginia politics must end. The winners of this week’s elections should uplift those voices when they are facing armies of corporate utility lobbyists seeking to manipulate the law and self-regulate.”

See the full list of endorsements here. 

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Clean Virginia is a 501(c)4 independent advocacy organization with an associated Political Action Committee, Clean Virginia Fund. Clean Virginia works to fight corruption in Virginia politics in order to promote clean energy, a robust, competitive economy, and community control over our energy policy. We are motivated by the core belief that our democracy should serve average Virginians over special interests. 

Lawmakers weigh in on Dominion Energy rate case settlement in public testimony
October 22, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Cassady Craighill, Clean Virginia Communications and Advocacy Director
cassady@cleanvirginia.org, 828-817-3328

October 22, 2021

Lawmakers weigh in on Dominion Energy rate case settlement in public testimony
$330 million customer refund “great first step,” but more reform needed to control costs

Richmond — During public testimony today, multiple legislators applauded Virginia’s utility regulator, the State Corporation Commission (SCC), and the agency’s proposed settlement with Dominion Energy and the Office of the Attorney General. This settlement is the latest development in Dominion Energy’s rate case, the first time in six years that regulators can examine the monopoly’s earnings and what customers pay for electricity. Senator John Bell (D-Loudon), Delegate Jay Jones (D-Norfolk), Delegate Sally Hudson (D-Charlottesville), and Delegate Suhas Subramanyam (D-Loudon) all pointed out that the settlement’s $330 million customer refund and $50 million rate decrease are victories for customers, but only represent the maximum amount permitted by law and that more reform is needed to grant reasonable electricity rates.

“Though we still have a long way to go to achieve fair utility practices in Virginia, a refund of $330 million for ratepayers is a great first step,” said Del. Subramanyam who passed a 2020 law that restored key decision-making authority to the SCC, unlocking the ability for regulators to grant any customer refunds during Dominion’s 2021 rate case.

“The passage of this legislation was a huge victory for ratepayers, and it was the result of many years of effort starting at the grassroots to hold our regulated utilities accountable,” Del. Subramanyam said in his rate case testimony.

Dominion Energy has overcharged customers by over $1.1 billion, according to SCC staff, but due to utility-friendly state laws, customers will only receive a fraction of these overcharges back as refunds and future rates cannot be lowered by more than $50 million, despite the SCC’s calculation that customers are due for a $212 million rate cut.

“The General Assembly must commit to fixing this broken system once and for all so that regulators have the authority required to do their jobs and set reasonable prices for electricity in Virginia,” said Clean Virginia Political and Legislative Director Lizzie Hylton. “Virginians cannot afford Dominion Energy’s chronic manipulation of regulation in its favor any longer.”

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Clean Virginia Responds to Dominion Energy Rate Case Settlement
October 19, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Cassady Craighill, Clean Virginia Communications and Advocacy Director

cassady@cleanvirginia.org, 828-817-3328

Charlottesville — In response to news that Dominion Energy, the Office of the Attorney General, and the Virginia State Corporate Commission (SCC) staff have reached a potential settlement that would grant customers with $330 million in refunds and a $50 million rate reduction, the maximum amount permitted by law despite regulatory findings that customers are owed a $212 million rate cut, Clean Virginia Political and Legislative Director Lizzie Hylton said,

“This settlement represents a major improvement over the status quo that Virginians have suffered under for far too long. Thanks to the tireless work of the Office of the Attorney General and State Corporation Commission staff as well as to the thousands of Virginians who spoke out during this rate case, Dominion Energy is finally not getting 100% of what it wants and Virginians will get at least some of their money back from Dominion Energy. But until the General Assembly takes action, Virginia’s pro-monopoly laws will continue to permit Dominion to dodge any real regulation or oversight – laws that in this case prevented Virginians from having the full $1.1 billion of Dominion overcharges refunded back to them and a $212 million reduction in energy bills moving forward.”

The SCC Commissioners still must approve the settlement, which includes a higher return on equity for Dominion Energy – 9.3% compared to the current 9.2% rate. Dominion Energy had requested a return of 10.8%.  The settlement announcement follows testimony from multiple stakeholders, including the Office of the Attorney General, the U.S. Navy, Walmart, the Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington, and low-income organizations, that voiced unified opposition to Dominion’s request for a higher profit level, which could cause billions in additional charges to Virginian customers.

Key takeaways from rate case testimony: 

– Overcharges: Dominion overcharged customers by $1.1 billion since 2017, according to SCC staff.

– Customer refunds: The Office of the Attorney General and regulators both recommend customer refunds of at least $312 million. Although the recommended amount represents a fraction of the total amount Dominion overcharged customers, customers would receive no refunds if not for a consumer protection law (HB 528) passed by Del. Suhas Subramanyam (D-Loudon), which restored oversight of Dominion’s cost-recovery timeline to regulators.

– Rate decrease: The Office of the Attorney General and SCC staff recommend a base rate decrease of $50 million. The SCC emphasized that the rate decrease would be $212 million if not for a Dominion-backed law that caps the maximum decrease at only $50 million.

In response to a request by nearly 20 Virginia lawmakers to analyze what customer refunds would be if the General Assembly had passed legislation removing a customer refund cap, SCC staff calculated that Dominion would owe customers $830.9 million in refunds. 

Clean Virginia has submitted nearly 2,500 public comments during Dominion Energy’s rate case, all opposing the profit increase and potential increases in customer bills.

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