Clean Virginia Endorses Delegate Jay Jones for Attorney General
April 1, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 1, 2021

Clean Virginia Endorses Delegate Jay Jones for Attorney General

Advocacy organization’s PAC also donates an additional $150,000 to Jones’ campaign

Charlottesville — In its first 2021 endorsement for a statewide candidate, Clean Virginia announced its endorsement today for Delegate Jay Jones’ candidacy for Attorney General. The clean energy and good governance advocacy group initially supported Delegate Jones’ (D-Norfolk) bid with a contribution of $100,000 from Clean Virginia Fund, the political action committee associated with Clean Virginia, when Jones announced his run in July 2020. With the additional $150,000 committed this month, Clean Virginia has contributed a total of $250,000 to Jones.

“We’re thrilled to officially endorse Del. Jay Jones for Attorney General, the top consumer protection officer for the state. Del. Jones has demonstrated time and again that he will champion energy reform and protect working Virginians through his bipartisan leadership in the fight against legalized corruption in the Commonwealth,” said Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore.

Jones and Clean Virginia share a commitment to empowering regular Virginians as a crucial part of ensuring a just, clean energy transition in Virginia. As a Delegate, Jones has championed multiple major pieces of legislation seeking to return hundreds of millions of dollars of Dominion Energy overcharges back to Virginia families and businesses as well as legislation designed to help facilitate access to rooftop solar panels for low-income communities.

“As a partner in the fights for fair energy policy and ending legalized corruption, I am honored to have the endorsement of Clean Virginia. I am running for Attorney General to ensure that the interests of all Virginians are protected, not just those of large corporations,” said Jones. “And this fight against corruption has never been more important than it is today.”

Jones was also the first endorsement of the 2021 cycle by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. In his statement, Northam said, “As a state delegate, Jay has led from the front in fighting for long-overdue justice reform, prioritizing our consumers, and protecting our environment.”

Clean Virginia joins Gov. Ralph Northam, Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA), over 30 state legislators, and dozens more local elected officials and community leaders in endorsing Jones.

Jones is a Norfolk native who comes from a long line of public servants. He was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2017 representing the 89th District.

CONTACT:

Cassady Craighill, 828-817-3328, cassady@cleanvirginia.org

Samson Signori, 757-625-8989, Samson@jayjones.com

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Jay Jones is a state Delegate from Norfolk, VA. In the legislature, Jay has championed protection for our environment, holding utility companies accountable, and standing up for workers. If elected, Jay would be Virginia’s first Black Attorney General.

 Clean Virginia is an 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 and community control over our energy policy. Clean Virginia’s funding is provided by founder Michael Bills. For details on Clean Virginia’s financial reports and political giving, please visit our listing at Virginia’s Public Access Project.

BREAKING: Dominion Energy Requests Massive Profit Increase
April 1, 2021

UPDATED WITH CORRECTION, APRIL 5: This press release has been updated to reflect that in its rate case filing, Dominion Energy appears to request that $67 million in customer refunds from 2018 be counted as a cost of service, which would result in customers paying Dominion back for those “refunds” in their monthly electricity bills. The original press release stated that it was requesting that $200 million in customer refunds be counted as a cost of service.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Diana Williams, Clean Virginia Communications Lead
diana@cleanvirginia.org, 540-836-8125

April 1, 2021

BREAKING: Dominion Energy Requests Massive Profit Increase
Virginia’s largest utility monopoly demands customers pay back 2018 refunds

Richmond — Dominion Energy filed its first triennial rate review application yesterday to the State Corporation Commission (SCC), marking the first time since 2015 that regulators will examine the base rates Dominion’s customers pay for energy in Virginia. Base rates currently account for approximately 60% of a typical customer bill. The SCC will also examine Dominion’s earnings during the review period.

In the filing, Dominion requests a significant increase in its annual profit, admits to overcharging Virginians for energy, and asserts that Virginians should be required to pay back $67 million in “refunds” the monopoly was compelled to grant in 2018 as part of the Grid Transformation and Securities Act (GTSA).

“Dominion Energy’s audacious request to increase its profits adds insult to injury for Virginians whom Dominion already overcharged by over $500 million since 2017. Dominion has gotten away with ripping off families and small businesses and pocketing money that should be refunded back to customers — and now it wants more,” said Brennan Gilmore, Clean Virginia Executive Director.

Key initial takeaways from Dominion’s filing:

  1. Continued customer overcharges: Dominion’s application indicates that it continues to overcharge Virginians by hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Further, the monopoly concedes that it has overcharged Virginians even after taking into account COVID-19 debt forgiveness.
  2. Request for massive profit increase: Despite years of record low interest rates and an extremely favorable regulatory environment in Virginia, Dominion requests to increase its authorized profit level from 9.2% to 10.8%. This profit increase would also immediately raise customer rates and bills. The SCC denied a similar request in 2019, a request the agency estimated would have cost Virginians $1.4 billion over 25 years.
  3. Turning refunds into “payday loans:” By including the $67 million in customer refunds Dominion was compelled to grant Virginians under the 2018 GTSA in its earnings test, Dominion requests that Virginians pay back their own “refunds.”

“In this filing, it appears that Dominion has employed every accounting trick in the book to hide the hundreds of millions of dollars it has overcharged Virginians. Virginians desperately need reform of our broken regulatory laws so utilities are not rewarded with extra profit made by overcharging customers for electricity,” Gilmore said.

Virginia residents pay the sixth-highest electricity bills in the nation, according to data collected by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Dominion’s current review will only examine the monopoly’s “base rates,” which make up approximately sixty percent of an average customer’s monthly utility bill, according to a Virginia Poverty Law Center report.

The SCC will issue a ruling on the rate case in November after several months of testimony and public hearings.

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Clean Virginia: Legislative Session Reveals Eagerness of Some Lawmakers to Push Forward Comprehensive Energy Reform and Ethics Policies
March 11, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Diana Williams, Clean Virginia Communications Lead
diana@cleanvirginia.org, 540-836-8125

March 11, 2021

Clean Virginia: Legislative Session Reveals Eagerness of Some Lawmakers to Push Forward Comprehensive Energy Reform and Ethics Policies
New Generation of Legislators Make Their Presence Felt at the General Assembly

Richmond — The two houses that make up Virginia’s General Assembly split in sometimes stark ways over a suite of bills addressing electricity rates and regulations as well as measures to address lawmaker ethics during this year’s legislative session.

“The pandemic limited constituent access to their representatives, but despite the challenges of a remote legislative session, Virginians made their voices heard. We’re also seeing a new group of legislators join veteran champions, especially in the House, who are prioritizing the needs of their constituents,” said Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore. “We saw thoughtful, well-crafted energy and governance reform bills that were fiercely defended by patrons and will pave the way for similarly good measures in the future.”

In one of the more striking acts of the 2021 session, a bill establishing a new grant program for the transition of Virginia’s school buses to an all-electric fleet, championed by Del. Mark Keam (D – County of Fairfax (part)), passed the House late on the final night of session. Unlike other proposals, Keam’s bill prioritized bus replacements in school districts with high rates of air pollution and asthma. That same night, the House voted down an alternative proposal championed by Dominion Energy that would have prioritized the monopoly’s profits over school needs.

“The legislature sent an unambiguous message this session: without serious rate reform, they will not continue to approve gold-plated projects designed to maximize monopoly profits while regular Virginians struggle to pay the 6th highest energy bills in the country. Dominion’s influence over legislators is notably waning,” Gilmore said.

A bipartisan and diverse group of legislators worked diligently to shift the power from utility monopolies, like Dominion Energy, back to regulators at the State Corporation Commission (SCC) and Virginia energy customers. The House of Delegates passed with bipartisan support five significant ratemaking bills designed to strike pro-monopoly provisions in Virginia’s code and restore crucial oversight authority to the SCC, but the Dominion-backed Senate Commerce and Labor committee failed to advance them on February 15th.

Dominion invested a record-breaking $1.3 million in contributions to Virginia lawmakers, including during last year’s special session and leading up to the 2021 General Assembly session. Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment, who with Majority Leader Dick Saslaw led the charge against the utility rate reform bills, owns up to $250,000 in Dominion Energy stock, according to public disclosures, and has received over $180,000 in campaign contributions from the utility monopoly. Saslaw has accepted over $460,000 in campaign contributions from Dominion. In total, eight state senators sitting on the Commerce & Labor committee voted not to advance any of the five bills that would have given regulators the ability to set fair and reasonable electric rates. Combined, those eight senators alone have received more than $1.2 million from Dominion throughout their careers.

Legislators on both sides of the aisle also looked to strengthen Virginia’s lax campaign finance laws and to provide professional development opportunities for legislative staff. Although both efforts were widely supported in the House, each ultimately failed in the Senate.

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BREAKING: Consumer Coalition in House of Delegates Blocks Dominion Profit Grab
February 28, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Diana Williams, Clean Virginia Communications Lead

diana@cleanvirginia.org, 540-836-8125 

February 28, 2021 

BREAKING: Consumer Coalition in House of Delegates Blocks Dominion Profit Grab

A bipartisan coalition determined that Virginia students deserved a better deal on electric school buses

Richmond — Late Saturday night the House of Delegates blocked SB 1380, a bill that would have approved a controversial plan by Dominion Energy to establish a substantial foothold in the electric transport sector through the development of electric school buses. The measure included inflated costs to ratepayers, sky-high profits for Dominion, and utility monopoly control over bus batteries – even if that use was not in the interests of students. The House of Delegates had already defeated the bill earlier in the day on a tie 46-46 House vote, but in a highly unusual move, Democratic House leadership resurrected the bill for another attempt at passage before it finally died 41-49 in the final vote of the 2021 legislative session. A total of 21 Democratic delegates joined 28 Republican colleagues in killing the measure. A similar bill was also defeated on a bipartisan basis in the House of Delegates in the 2020 General Assembly session.

“Dominion has a well-established history of manipulating the General Assembly to secure utility-friendly legislation, but those days are over,” Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore said. “A new generation of lawmakers have joined veteran consumer protection champions to restore necessary balance to the creation of energy policy in the Commonwealth, and putting the interests of consumers first.” 

The electric school bus expansion plan, announced by Dominion last year, came in the context of a “strategic repositioning” touted by Dominion Executive Chairman Tom Farrell as an opportunity to “allow us to increase our long-term earnings growth rate guidance by around 30 percent.” Dominion followed this repositioning with a record-breaking $1.3 million in contributions to Virginia lawmakers, including during last year’s special session and leading up to the 2021 General Assembly session.

“Virginia should entrust the duty of converting diesel school buses into clean, electric fleets to an appropriate entity that puts students first,” said Lizzie Hylton, Clean Virginia’s Political and Legislative Director. “The General Assembly should never give the keys of a massive transportation project to a monopoly whose profit model exclusively rests on building things as expensively and inefficiently as possible. Utilities should be taking direction from policymakers, not giving it.”

Had it passed, SB 1380 would have saddled Virginians with a needlessly expensive electric school bus transition program managed by the state’s largest utility monopoly. In addition the measure also:

  • Lacked cost safeguards that would prevent electricity rate increases for all Virginians and stop Dominion from earning an annual profit every year the buses were in circulation.
  • Would have cost ratepayers approximately $250 million for the buses alone – without factoring in the cost of the charging infrastructure or Dominion’s annual profit from both  – and would have cost school districts a further $100 million (approximately).
  • Enabled Dominion to use bus batteries — without providing compensation to schools in case of disrupting student transportation.
  • Utilized a regressive payment structure that would have most burdened low-income households, making them pay for buses through electricity bills despite already shouldering an unaffordable energy burden in a state with the sixth-highest energy bills in the nation.

The 2021 session also saw the defeat of measures to curb loose campaign finance laws by banning the personal use of campaign contributions and stopping lawmakers from accepting campaign contributions from Dominion and Appalachian Power, utilities they are elected to regulate.

Opponents of the bill included the Virginia Conservation Network, Southern Environmental Law Center, Piedmont Environmental Council, Appalachian Voices, Virginia Organizing, and others.

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BREAKING: Dominion-stacked Senate committee kills overdue electricity rate reform
February 15, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

CONTACT:

Cassady Craighill, Clean Virginia Communications Lead

cassady@cleanvirginia.org, 828-817-3328 

February 15, 2021

BREAKING: Dominion-stacked Senate committee kills overdue electricity rate reform 

Virginia utility monopolies donated over $1.2 million to deciding Senators 

Richmond — In a chaotic and abbreviated meeting, the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee failed to advance a suite of electricity rate reform bills that would have strengthened consumer protection measures for all utility customers and prevented Dominion Energy from pocketing overcharges from its customers. Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power Company have contributed over $1.2 million to the eight Senators who voted against a bill introduced by Delegate Dan Helmer (Fairfax) that would have allowed the State Corporation Commission to adjust future rates up or down to reflect a utility’s cost of service and rate of return. 

“$1.2 million is the price Dominion Energy has paid in campaign contributions to a handful of Senators on the Commerce and Labor Committee to cheat Virginians out of over $500 million of refunds and fair electricity rates,” said Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore. “Instead of voting to reform Virginia’s unjust ratemaking system that leaves customers paying the 6th highest energy bills in the country, this powerful committee and roadblock to fair energy policy, once again, batted for Dominion Energy.” 

Senator Minority Leader Tommy Norment, who with Majority Leader Dick Saslaw led the charge against the utility rate reform bills, owns up to $250,000 in Dominion Energy stock, according to public disclosures, and has received over $180,000 in campaign contributions from the utility. Senator Norment voted last month to pass by a bill that would have ordered Dominion Energy to refund 100% of the money the utility overcharged Virginians, claiming that bills aimed at protecting Virginia consumers were a “legislative assault” on the utility and expressing concern about the impact of the bill on Dominion’s “desirability in Wall Street’s perspective.” Saslaw has accepted over $460,000 in campaign contributions from Dominion Energy. 

“What we witnessed in today’s committee is a blatant corruption of the democratic process. Until voters change the makeup of this committee, powerful utility monopolies will continue not only to write favorable legislation, but to rig the entire legislative process thanks to Senators compromised by their clear financial and personal interests,” Gilmore said. 

The five consumer protection ratemaking bills put forth during this year’s General Assembly session would have restored the State Corporation Commission (SCC) with its full regulatory authority to protect consumers during Dominion’s next earnings review this year — HB1914, HB1984, HB2049, HB2160, and HB2200. All passed the House of Delegates with bipartisan support and earned endorsements from a broad spectrum of stakeholders including the Office of the Attorney General, environmental groups, low-income advocates, faith organizations, the business community, and conservative grassroots coalitions. 

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Clean Virginia Statement on Delegate Dave LaRock
January 10, 2021

In our effort to combat corruption and undue utility monopoly influence in Virginia’s energy sector, Clean Virginia Fund, Clean Virginia’s Political Action Committee, operates with a transparent, predictable giving policy for the General Assembly: we will donate $2,500 and $5,000 a year to House Delegate or State Senator candidates or incumbents, respectively, if they refuse contributions from Virginia’s regulated utility monopolies (i.e., Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power Company) and their employed registered lobbyists and do not own stock in those corporations. This policy means that we support legislators from both parties and a wide variety of political viewpoints, and often may not agree with these legislators on issues beyond the scope of having a principled stance against accepting money from the utilities they regulate.

However, some actions are so egregious and contrary to the values of our organization that we must on occasion make exceptions to this universal giving policy. Clean Virginia Fund revised our giving policy last fall to ensure it was in line with these organizational values, including the respect and dignity for all people and communities and a commitment to ethical standards and the integrity of the democratic process.

Due to his reprehensible statements denigrating the LGBTQ community, Clean Virginia Fund concluded last year it would no longer provide campaign funding to Delegate Dave LaRock, who had previously received a standard contribution for House of Delegates members who refuse utility monopoly money. Delegate LaRock’s recent promotion of baseless conspiracy theories about the results of the November Presidential election, followed by his attendance at the events of January 6 and comments that the insurrectional violence was the result of “paid provocateurs” are also of grave concern. These actions are anathema to the values of our organization and reinforce our conclusion that Delegate LaRock will no longer be eligible for our standard contribution.

– Brennan Gilmore, Clean Virginia Executive Director

Virginians Now Paying Sixth Highest Electricity Bills in the Nation
December 21, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Diana Williams, Clean Virginia Communications Lead
diana@cleanvirginia.org, 540-836-8125

Virginians Now Paying Sixth Highest Electricity Bills in the Nation

Virginia’s Leading Clean Energy and Consumer Advocates Call for Immediate Attention to Ratemaking Reform in upcoming Legislative Session

Charlottesville – A recently released 2019 report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) found that Virginia residents pay the sixth highest electricity bills in the nation. According to this report, Virginia residents paid on average approximately $135 per month, a price only exceeded by Hawaii, Connecticut, Alabama, South Carolina and Mississippi. This marks an increase from 2018, when Virginia was seventh in the nation.

“Virginia has climbed higher in the ranks of the most unaffordable electric bills in the country,” said Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore. “This information further highlights the need for immediate energy reform in Virginia, including an end to the outrageous profits utility monopolies like Dominion extract by regularly overcharging their customers.”

In the Commonwealth, customers’ bills from Virginia’s biggest utility, Dominion Energy, have increased by nearly 29% since 2007, when the laws governing Dominion were rewritten in the utility monopoly’s favor. This problem hits Virginia’s low-income and minority communities particularly hard. According to a study by the Virginia Poverty Law Center, 75% of Virginia households have an unaffordable energy burden, meaning they spend more than 6% of their income on energy expenses. Additionally, according to the National Resources Defense Council, three times as many African-Americans and two times as many Latinos report making serious sacrifices to afford their utility bills compared to non-community of color households.

Strong state policies and regulatory support is needed to combat Virginians’ rising energy prices. Next year, the State Corporation Commission will review Dominion Energy’s rates for the first time since 2015, but recent laws passed governing Dominion’s rate case have stripped regulators of their authority to force Dominion to refund overcharges and lower rates. In order for Virginians to recover any of the $502.7 million Dominion has overcharged customers since 2017 and return future energy bills to an appropriate level, the General Assembly must take serious action in their upcoming legislative session to return full ratemaking authority to the SCC.

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Founded in 1997, Appalachian Voices brings people together to protect the land, air, and water of Central and Southern Appalachia and advance a just transition to a generative and equitable clean energy economy.

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the first grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For 17 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

Clean Virginia is an 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 and community control over our energy policy. For more information, visit cleanvirginia.org.

Climate Action Alliance of the Valley (CAAV) – Working toward a sustainable future for all; Our mission is to limit the impact of humans on Earth’s climate and to minimize the effects of inevitable climate change in order to protect the future for Earth and its’ inhabitants. Our Vision is to create and nurture climate action in our Shenandoah Valley community, so that we can become a regional leader in promoting climate change mitigation and resilience

New Virginia Majority builds power in working-class communities of color, in immigrant communities, among LGBTQ people, women, youth, and progressives across the Commonwealth. We organize for racial and economic justice through large-scale political education, mobilization and advocacy around dozens of issues. We fight for a Virginia that is just, democratic and environmentally sustainable. For more information, visit our website and follow us on Twitter and Facebook at @NewVAMajority.

Virginia Organizing is a non-partisan statewide grassroots organization that brings people together to create a more just Virginia.

Wanda Sykes Featured in New Clean Virginia Video Calling for Energy Reform in Virginia  
December 10, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

CONTACT:

Brennan Gilmore, Clean Virginia Executive Director

brennan@cleanvirginia.org, 571-733-0474

Wanda Sykes Featured in New Clean Virginia Video Calling for Energy Reform in Virginia  

Emmy-nominated illustrator challenges power of utility monopolies in “Beyond the Vampire Squid” video

December 10, 2020

Charlottesville — Clean Virginia has partnered with Emmy-winning comedian Wanda Sykes and Emmy-nominated artist Molly Crabapple to produce “Beyond the Vampire Squid: A Story About Power in Virginia” an illustrated video calling for energy reform in Virginia. 

The video uses illustrations depicting Virginia’s top utility monopoly Dominion Energy as a vampire squid, a reference first used by Rolling Stone reporter Matthew Taibbi to describe Goldman Sachs’ role in the 2008 financial crisis. In 2019, the Virginia Mercury’s Editor-in-Chief used the vampire squid reference to describe Dominion and its nefarious influence in Virginia’s political and governmental institutions. Crabapple, who was nominated for an Emmy this year for a video about the Green New Deal featuring Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), illustrated the video and Skyes, a Virginia native, provides the video’s narration. 

“Virginia has its own vampire squid — one that wraps itself around the Capitol and uses its massive financial and political influence to strangle energy competition,” said Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore. “It is high time we vanquished the legalized corruption in Virginia that has allowed Dominion Energy to become the most powerful force in the Commonwealth, at the expense of Virginia families and small businesses.” 

Clean Virginia works on multiple fronts to advance energy and good governance reform in Virginia, including legislative efforts to limit the political influence of utility monopolies, introduce consumer control of Virginia’s energy market, and empower regulators to protect customers from unjust electricity pricing. 

Wanda Sykes is an Emmy-winning stand-up comic, writer, actress, and producer. Hailing from Portsmouth, Virginia, and Gambrills, Maryland, Skyes attended Hampton University and has been active in voter engagement efforts in Virginia, in coordination with the Hometown Project, which connects cultural leaders to local campaigns and candidates in their hometowns. Molly Crapabble’s art is featured in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, and her animated short “A Message from the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez” was nominated for an Emmy award this year. 

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Clean Virginia is an 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 and community control over our energy policy.  For more information, visit cleanvirginia.org.

BREAKING: State Corporation Commission Rejects Appalachian Power’s Request to Increase Customer Bills
November 24, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Cassady Craighill, Clean Virginia Communications Director

cassady@cleanvirginia.org, 828-817-3328

BREAKING: State Corporation Commission Rejects Appalachian Power’s Request to Increase Customer Bills

Ruling demonstrates urgent need for legislative reform in advance of Dominion Energy’s 2021 rate case

November 24, 2020

The State Corporation Commission denied Appalachian Power Company’s request for a rate increase, according to the regulatory agency’s final ruling issued today regarding Appalachian’s first triennial rate case. Anti-consumer laws prevented the agency from lowering bills or issuing tens of millions of dollars in customer refunds, both of which the Attorney General’s Office argued were due based on years of overcharging customers.

“Today’s ruling showed what we already knew – Appalachian Power Company grossly overreached by attempting to raise customer bills in the middle of a pandemic and recession after having already raised bills by 64% since 2007,” said Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore. “We commend the State Corporation Commission’s refusal to raise customers’ bills but are disappointed that Virginia’s overwhelmingly pro-utility laws prevented the SCC from issuing refunds for any of the $61 million that the Attorney General’s Office argued Appalachian overcharged its customers. We cannot let this happen again – lawmakers must tackle electricity rate reform and restore the SCC with its full authority before Dominion Energy’s 2021 rate case.”

Key takeaways from the State Corporation Commission’s ruling include:

  • The SCC denied Appalachian’s attempts to raise customer bills based on the utility’s attempt to manipulate the expenses associated with coal-fired power plant retirements.
  • Virginia’s legally-mandated profit bonus that allows Dominion and Appalachian to earn above their authorized profit level, a legal provision that does not exist in any other state, prevented the SCC from lowering rates or issuing customer refunds despite consensus from SCC staff and the Attorney General’s Office that Appalachian had overcharged its customers during the three-year review period.
  • The State Corporation Commission still lacks full authority to determine how utilities recover their costs from customers so that the interests of both are treated fairly. As a result, Appalachian customers will continue to pay energy bills that are higher than they should be.

Dominion Energy’s first triennial rate case begins next March and at least $502.7 million in customer overcharges since 2017 are at stake, according to an SCC report. Without legislative reform during the 2021 General Assembly session, the SCC will be unable to issue customers their full refunds or lower future rates to their appropriate level even if it finds Dominion Energy has overearned.

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Has your electricity been disconnected?
November 12, 2020

Winter is fast approaching, and Virginians are still weathering the impacts of a pandemic and economic crisis. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise, a backlog of unemployment claims threatens our ability to pay rent and utilty bills. The good news is that lawmakers just passed a budget that seeks to protect Virginians from electricity disconnections due to overdue bills — and we want to ensure that utilities like Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power follow the law. 

If you are facing electricity disconnection or know friends, family, or neighbors at risk of losing electricity, below is a list of important steps to follow:

  1. For a complete list of resources available to you, please call 211 and press 9 to speak with a community resource specialist. More information about Virginia’s 211 service found here: 211virginia.org
  2. You may qualify for help through the Virginia COVID-19 Energy Assistance program through Virginia’s Department of Social Services. Applications are currently being accepted through November 20, 2020 or until funds are exhausted and could provide eligible households a one-time payment of $300 to assist with payment of a heating or cooling expense.
  3. Contact your energy provider and let them know your situation. The General Assembly passed a budget in November, which, once signed by Governor Northam, will prohibit most utilities from disconnecting customers for nonpayment so long as a State of Emergency remains in effect due to COVID-19.
  4. Notify your House Delegate and State Senator ASAP regarding your electricity disconnection. Click here to send them a message. 
  5. You may also wish to alert the State Corporation Commission (SCC) to your situation using their online complaint form. The SCC is a state agency with regulatory authority over public utilities.

Clean Virginia is committed to holding electric utilities accountable during this uncertain time and ensuring that these companies adhere to the protections that lawmakers put in place for Virginia families. Please share these resources with anyone you know who might be worried about paying their utility bills and losing electricity in their homes. Anyone can view these resources by texting “ENERGY” to 670-76.