Dominion Power Play Not Playing Well Across Virginia

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    Dominion’s bill to shield its books from public scrutiny until 2020, with help from the many legislators it has purchased, is not getting a very good reception across the Commonwealth.  Here’s a sampling of the THUMBS-DOWN reviews:

    AP/Staunton News Leader:

    Sen. Frank Wagner is the chief sponsor of legislation that would weaken state oversight of Dominion Virginia Power’s rate setting. The move could help the utility giant’s bottom line and its shareholders, of which Wagner is one.[…] As a regulated monopoly, Dominion has a strong interest in staying on good terms with state lawmakers. The utility is the biggest corporate donor to state political campaigns and is the most generous gift-giver to state lawmakers. […] most lawmakers who own the company’s stock did vote for the legislation.

    Jeff Shapiro, Richmond Times-Dispatch:  

    Since 2000, Wagner has collected $38,350 in donations from Dominion. Virginia’s largest corporate donor, Dominion – since last year – has given candidates and PACs nearly $750,000. […] Wagner’s legislation is an affirmation that, in Virginia, government works for business; that corporations are vast, wealthy powers unto themselves, controlling their servants in Richmond with measured sops mistaken for beneficence.

    The Daily Press:

    The bill, Dominion says, will provide stability while it determines the best way to meet Washington’s demands.[…] However, we are not sure how exempting any power company from a statewide regulatory review process is the best way to accomplish that. We worry that the legislation would render the SCC toothless when it comes to protecting consumers from high utility prices.[…] That’s not the way business should be done in Virginia.

    The Virginian-Pilot:

    If Dominion Virginia Power really wants to keep electricity rates from rising in Virginia, the company should keep electricity rates from rising in Virginia. It doesn’t need a law to do so…If you notice that most customers are left out of the conversation, you’re not alone.

    Attention all Virginia politicians:  We just had our last governor convicted for taking bribes.  This is not a great time to be seen trading quid pro quos with the titanic monopoly that everyone knows has been stuffing cash into your pockets forever.  You would be wise instead to follow the brave lead of Attorney General Mark Herring in opposing this power grab.

    And that especially goes for you, Governor McAuliffe – this is a terrific opportunity to demonstrate the type of reformist leadership the state has been looking for.  Let the General Assembly know, in the strongest terms, that you oppose this corrupt, anti-consumer legislation and that you will veto it if it comes to your desk.

    Don’t assume that the people won’t notice if you throw them under the Dominion bus.  Just ask Eric Cantor where crony capitalism ultimately left him.

    • Elaine in Roanoke

      This is a matter for the governor’s veto pen, without question. Come on, McAuliffe. You can’t run for another term, anyway. The state government in Virginia has been owned by the state’s corporate interests for as long as I can remember. $750,000 to get a free pass from oversight by the toothless SCC is a cheap price to pay to Virginia’s political prostitutes. Dominion has gotten a good deal. Us? Screwed, as usual.