FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cassady Craighill, Clean Virginia Communications and Advocacy Director
[email protected], 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.