The Virginia Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in an appeal case that further exemplifies Dominion Energy’s attempts to stifle the renewable energy market in the Commonwealth. Dominion is trying to overturn a Virginia State Corporation Commission, or SCC, decision that would make it easier for large companies to purchase 100 percent renewable energy.
“This is another example of Dominion’s efforts to suppress all possible competition and dictate to its customers the terms by which they can access clean, low-cost, renewable energy,” said SELC Attorney Will Cleveland. “If Dominion has its way, it will control all access to renewable energy in the Commonwealth, and thus control whether – and how many – renewable jobs and economic development opportunities will come to our state.”
The SCC earlier ruled that Virginia law gives large energy customers, typically big businesses or box stores that use much more electricity than small businesses or residents, easy access to non-utility power providers who offer 100 percent renewable energy. Dominion’s appeal of this decision is another example of the utilities attempt to keep large customers captive and stymie the growth of the solar industry in Virginia.
The arguments heard in defense of the SCC’s earlier decision came from the commission itself, Direct Energy, and SELC.
Normally, large customers may legally buy electricity from a provider other than their utility but, if they want to return to their utility, they must provide 5 years’ advance notice. The SCC’s ruling confirmed, however, that when large customers want to buy 100 percent renewable energy, the five year notice provision does not apply. The SCC, Direct Energy, and SELC joined together to defend the commission’s ruling, arguing that the SCC had properly interpreted the law’s plain meaning and asking the court to reject Dominion’s tortured interpretation of the law.
The timeline is now at the court’s discretion as it considers the arguments before ruling.