FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Diana Williams, Clean Virginia Communications Lead
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.
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.