Home Energy system Dominion overcharged Virginia customers by over $ 1 billion, state regulators say

Dominion overcharged Virginia customers by over $ 1 billion, state regulators say

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From Clean Virginia:

Dominion overcharged Virginia customers by over $ 1 billion, state regulators say

State laws favorable to utilities still prevent the regulator from having any authority during the tariff case

Richmond – Dominion Energy overcharged its customers by more than $ 1.1 billion, according to staff at the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) in the latest development of Dominion’s tariff case, the first time in six years that regulators can examine monopoly revenues and what customers pay for energy. Due to state-friendly utility laws, customers will only receive a fraction of these additional costs in the form of refunds – $ 312 million – and future rates cannot be lowered by more than $ 50 million, despite the SCC’s calculation that customers are owed for a rate reduction of $ 212 million. .

“Dominion Energy’s manipulation of regulation in its favor is causing real financial hardship for Virginians,” said Laura Gonzalez, head of energy and regulatory policy at Clean Virginia. “Our current energy system prioritizes excessive corporate profits over reasonably priced clean energy, and Virginians deserve better. Regulators and lawmakers must do everything possible to end this theft legalized by powerful utility monopolies in Virginia. “

The SCC’s response follows testimony from several stakeholders, including the Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Navy, Walmart, the Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington, and low-income organizations, who have expressed unified opposition to Dominion’s demand for a higher profit. level, which could result in billions in additional fees for Virginia customers.

Key points to remember from the testimonials of tariff cases:

– Overbilling: Dominion has overcharged its customers by $ 1.1 billion since 2017, according to CSC staff.

– Customer refunds: The Attorney General’s Office and regulators both recommend customer refunds of at least $ 312 million. While the recommended amount is only a fraction of the total amount billed to Dominion customers, customers would not receive any refunds were it not for a consumer protection law (HB 528) passed by Del. Suhas Subramanyam (D-Loudon), who restored Dominion cost oversight. payback time to regulators.

– Rate Cut: The Attorney General’s Office and CSC staff recommend a base rate cut of $ 50 million. The SCC pointed out that the tariff cut would be $ 212 million if it weren’t for a Dominion-backed law that caps the maximum cut at just $ 50 million.

In response to a request from nearly 20 Virginia lawmakers to analyze what client refunds would be if the General Assembly passed a law removing a cap on client reimbursements, CSC staff calculated that Dominion owed clients $ 830.9 million in reimbursements.

Dominion will file rebuttal evidence next month and respond to the recommendations of the respondents and SCC staff. The SCC will make a final decision on the tariff case early next year after several months of testimony and public hearings.