Virginia Chapter Sierra Club

No Welfare for Dominion!

Dominion






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State lawmakers will vote this week on a bill that would allow Dominion Virginia Power to play accounting games that protect their bottom line.

Senate Bill 459 and the House Companion HB1059 will allow Dominion to write off the majority of $570 million dollars spent between 2007 and 2013 studying the feasibility of a third nuclear reactor at the North Anna station in Louisa County. Without this legislation, Dominion wouldn't otherwise have an opportunity to recoup those costs until it begins to actually build the new reactor. 

What is the effect on every Dominion customer paying their utility bills in Virginia? This legislation will keep electricity rates higher than they ought to be, because ratepayers are now subsidizing research on a new nuclear reactor that will probably never even be constructed. North Anna 3 would sit on the same site where North Anna 1 and 2 were shut down by the earthquake in nearby Mineral, Virginia in August 2011-- just thirteen miles from the epicenter!

Contact your Virginia Senator and Delegate today! We’re not fooled by accounting gimmicks that protect monopoly utilities, and they shouldn’t be, either. 

Dominion's utility rates are set by the State Corporation Commission, who balance utility operations costs and Dominion’s profit margin when setting the cost of electricity for consumers. The SCC Commissioners will actually order Dominion to refund customers at the bi-annual review period if Dominion’s profits are too high. Virginia consumers were on track to receive refunds in 2015, until this bill swept the General Assembly by storm.

Seventy percent of the $570 million dollars in nuclear research will be deducted from Dominion’s profits in 2013 and 2014 if SB459/ HB1059 passes the General Assembly. Contact your Virginia Senator and Delegate today! Tell them that you oppose accounting gimmicks that strong-arm the State Corporation Commission and limit regulatory authority on Dominion’s monopoly. 

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Vote NO on SB459 / HB1059

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to you to ask that you oppose SB459 and HB1059. Senate Bill 459 and the House Companion HB1059 will allow Dominion to write off 70 percent of $570 million dollars spent between 2007 and 2013 studying the feasibility of a third nuclear reactor at the North Anna station in Louisa County. Without this legislation, Dominion wouldn't otherwise have an opportunity to recoup those costs until it begins to build the new reactor.




Furthermore, these bills interfere with the State Corporation Commission's ability to determine what if any refunds should go to ratepayers at the 2015 rate case. Last year, the Commission reviewed Dominion's 2011 and 2012 earnings and determined it was earning just below its authorized rate of return. The commission also forecast that Dominion's current rates would allow it to collect $280 million more than it should. If the SCC's estimate of the company's earnings continues to hold true for the 2013-14 rate review period, the company could have to refund much of those possible over-collections back to customers. But being allowed to write off North Anna development expenses reduces the chance of such refunds--and protects Dominion's bottom line.

Please vote no on SB459 and HB1059. An accounting gimmick that protects a monopoly's profits against the interest of consumers is no way to set utility policy that impacts rate adjustments. Legislation impacting utility rates should be referred to the State Corporation Commission for analysis and public comment.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

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