Tentative settlement reached in Dominion rate review
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s largest electric utility has reached a settlement agreement with regulators and other parties in an ongoing rate case that if approved would provide one-time refunds to customers and a rate reduction going forward.
Dominion Energy Virginia announced the development late Monday afternoon.
The company has for months been in the middle of a rate review before the State Corporation Commission. The proceeding is designed to examine the company’s financial position and whether adjustments to customers’ base rates, which account for a little over half of a typical customer’s bill, are necessary.
Dominion said in a news release that the proposed settlement would result in $330 million in one-time refunds on customer bills, paid over several years and amounting to about $67 for a typical residential customer. It would also include a $50 million rate reduction moving forward, resulting in a proposed monthly bill reduction of approximately 90 cents for a typical residential customer.
SCC staff, the office of Attorney General Mark Herring and a number of large energy buyers were among those who joined the agreement.
“Attorney General Herring believes that this is as fair a settlement as possible under the existing law, maximizes the allowable rate cut, and will return hundreds of millions to consumers in the Commonwealth,” Herring spokeswoman Charlotte Gomer said in a statement.
The commission can accept, reject or modify the agreement, spokesman Ken Schrad said.
Dominion, a political heavyweight, has routinely pushed through legislation over the years that has minimized its chances of having to lower its rates.
“This is about as good an outcome for customers as you can have under a broken system like what we have in Virginia,” said Will Cleveland, an attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center who represented Appalachian Voices, a grassroots environmental advocacy group, in the proceedings.
The group did not join in the proposed deal but did not oppose it.
Dominion will also see a relatively small increase on its allowable profit, from 9.2% to 9.35%. It had been seeking a rate of 10.8%.