- Virginia senators voted 32-6 to approve a rate freeze for Dominion Virginia Power, the Washington Post reported, meaning the state's regulators would not have oversight over the utility's rates for five years.
- The utility lobbied for the rate freeze, telling lawmakers it was necessary to get in front of carbon regulations which could cause some coal plants to be shuttered and costs to rise.
- Dominion last week reported 2014 operating earnings of $2 billion, or $3.43/share, compared to $1.9 billion in 2013.
Virginia's senate has approved the rate freeze Dominion requested — the utility "wields unrivaled power at the General Assembly," the Washington Post points out — meaning state regulators will not review rates until 2020. Consumer advocates have argued the utility's rates are already too high, but Dominion said the freeze was necessary to guard against rising costs as carbon mandates potentially take power plants offline.
The rate freeze also means customers of Appalachian Power will not get an expected refund in 2016, the Post notes. The utility said the refund money would be reinvested in the system to ultimately benefit customers even more.
Dominion reported unaudited earnings for 2014 of $1.3 billion, or $2.24/ share, compared with earnings of $1.7 billion in 2013. The company posted fourth quarter operating earnings of 84 cents per share and also introduced first-quarter operating earnings guidance of 85 cents to $1.00 per share.
Chairman, President and CEO Thomas Farrell II said 2014 was "a year of significant accomplishments for Dominion as we completed several major capital projects and made significant progress to advance the next round of infrastructure growth. Excluding five cents per share impact of mild weather, full year operating earnings were in the middle of our guidance range."