Dominion Energy has overcharged customers more than a billion dollars
SELC recommends refunds in testimony to the State Corporation Commission
RICHMOND, Va. — Today the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) submitted expert testimony on behalf of Appalachian Voices in the first proceeding that Virginia’s State Corporation Commission (SCC) has held since 2015 to review the rates that Dominion Energy charges its customers.
According to the testimony, Dominion has overcharged its customers by $1.2 billion since 2015, yet returned none of that money. The testimony further recommends that the SCC require Dominion to refund $372 million to its customers, which is as much as Virginia’s utility-friendly laws will allow.
“Unfortunately, Dominion’s customer abuse has gone unchecked for years, with the company pocketing hundreds of millions of dollars that are owed to the people of the Commonwealth,” said Appalachian Voices Virginia Policy Director Peter Anderson. “It’s up to the SCC to hold Virginia’s utilities accountable with the tools at its disposal today and up to the General Assembly to untie the Commission’s hands so that Virginia’s clean energy transition is equitable.”
Because Dominion is a monopoly, no competition exists to drive its prices down. Virginian households average the sixth highest electric bills in the country.
Virginians rely on the SCC to rein in utilities like Dominion so that customers pay only what is fair and necessary for safe, reliable power. Fortunately, in 2020 the General Assembly restored some of the SCC’s oversight powers, so the Commission can finally begin to rebalance the playing field.
The SCC’s oversight is also critical to achieving a zero-carbon electricity grid by 2050, as mandated by the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA). Undoubtedly the boldest climate legislation to come out of the South, the VCEA ensures that the ultimate winners of Virginia’s efforts to cut carbon are residents across the Commonwealth who will benefit from lower costs and a stronger economy.
“The VCEA put Virginia on track to a 100 percent clean energy future. But we can’t get there in a least-cost manner when Virginians are already overpaying hundreds of millions each year,” said SELC Senior Attorney Will Cleveland. “Virginians should be making investments in the future of our Commonwealth, not Dominion’s bottom line.”
SELC is recommending that Dominion refund $372 million to its customers, and will be participating in the live hearing that starts on October 25, 2021.
The Southern Environmental Law Center is one of the nation’s most powerful defenders of the environment, rooted in the South. With a long track record, SELC takes on the toughest environmental challenges in court, in government, and in our communities to protect our region’s air, water, climate, wildlife, lands, and people. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, the organization has a staff of 170, including 90 attorneys, and is headquartered in Charlottesville, Va., with offices in Asheville, Atlanta, Birmingham, Chapel Hill, Charleston, Nashville, Richmond, and Washington, D.C. southernenvironment.org