Both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly have passed legislation that will implement a widespread package of utility regulation changes. The measure was also endorsed by Gov. Ralph Northam.
The legislation’s goal is to provide $200 million in credits to customers for past overpayments and encourage investments to put transmission lines underground and transform the state’s electrical grid to match a shift in the utility industry that better incorporates solar, wind and battery storage and hardens the system against storms and cyber attacks. Specifically, it will affect Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power customers.
Supporters say this will provide immediate refunds for customers and help prepare the energy industry for the future with investments to upgrade the grid and increase the amount of power generated from renewable sources while keeping rates stable. Opponents, however, say it will make it more difficult for utility regulators to lower rates and issue refunds to customers by sanctioning utility spending that would keep that from happening.