FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cassady Craighill, Clean Virginia Communications Director
August 29, 2019
BREAKING: Dominion Rakes in $277.3 Million in Overearnings and Will Increase Annual Bills by Nearly $400
Since 2015, Dominion has accrued over $1.3 billion in excess profits
Richmond —The State Corporation Commission (SCC) found that in 2018 Dominion Energy pocketed $277.3 million in overearnings — money collected from customers in excess of the monopoly’s allowed profit level — according to a report released today. Due to legislation backed by Dominion lobbyists in 2015 and 2018, the SCC cannot compel the monopoly utility to refund this money to customers or lower base rates to prevent overearnings in the future.
“Dominion Energy is cheating Virginia customers out of hundreds of millions of dollars in refunds,” said Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore. “It’s time to empower regulators to return Dominion’s excess profits to its customers. Dominion’s CEO makes one of the highest salaries in the entire utilities sector and the monopoly has among the highest profitability of all utilities — that money belongs to Virginians.”
The SCC’s report also found that household customers’ bills will increase by $32.60 a month in the next four years, largely to cover the cost of new capital spending by Dominion.
The report found that Dominion’s earnings were 4.27% higher than its authorized return on equity level of 9.2%. The SCC will hold a hearing next month on Dominion’s request to increase its approved return on equity even higher, an increase that would raise Dominion’s profits and energy bills by a further $147 million statewide. The U.S. Navy called Dominion’s request “excessive and unwarranted,” joining Walmart, Virginia’s Attorney General, and Virginia Poverty Law Center in opposing the profit increase. More than 130 people have submitted comments to the SCC opposing the proposed rate — the typical amount of public comments submitted to the SCC for similar cases is fewer than 20.
“Virginians are already overburdened by their energy bills and this report shows why — Dominion overcharged consumers in Virginia by $277.3 million last year and a whopping $1.3 billion since 2015. Given that one in ten evictions in Virginia are for delinquencies under $340, it is clear our energy bills play a part in this yet Dominion wants to increase its profit levels and our monthly bills even more,” Gilmore said. “This latest attempt to increase its rate of return is a greedy money grab by Dominion that has nothing to do with energy investments that would improve the lives of Virginians struggling to pay high energy bills.”
The SCC public comment period regarding Dominion’s request for an increased rate of return on equity ends on Sept. 3; the SCC hearing on the request is on Sept. 10.