Report: Dominion rate review bill could land on Virginia governer's desk next week
- A measure to overhaul Dominion Energy's rates in Virginia has made progress in the Senate and House of Delegates, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports it could reach the desk of Gov. Ralph Northam by the end of next week.
- The Times-Dispatch reports the Senate version has been approved by the House of Delegates, and the House bill was advanced by a Senate committee this week. Each chamber will also need to approve the other's amendments.
- The bill allows regulators to review Dominion's rates every three years, and between those reviews, Dominion can invest any overcharges into efficiency, renewables and grid upgrades. The measure also authorizes $200 million in customer refunds. The two bills are the same, though the Senate will need to pass an amendment added by the House to ensure the utility does not "double dip" on its investments.
With the "double dipping" issue now worked out, the measure to overhaul Dominion's rates appears to have a clear path to the governor's desk. Northam held talks with lawmakers and other stakeholders to work out the details on this bill earlier this month to craft one he would likely sign.
Legislators feared the bill would force ratepayers to pay twice for renewable energy projects, since a previous version of the bill said that the utilities could use any money that they overcharged customers during the three-year period between reviews to invest in projects.
Legislators had feared Dominion would then add those projects into its rate base, but the issue has been resolved. In the triennial reviews, the projects will be removed from the ratebase and then paid for with funds that had been marked for return to customers instead.
Three years ago, lawmakers froze rates for Dominion and Appalachian Power to shield customers from possible rate shocks related to compliance with the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan. But with President Trump withdrawing those regulations, lawmakers want to shift authority back to the State Corporation Commission to oversee Dominion's rates.
- Richmond Times-Dispatch With few remaining detractors, bill overhauling utility regulation advances
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