Virginia’s 2007 energy re-regulation bill was a terrible idea from the start. It was essentially written by Dominion Virginia Power and rubber-stamped into law by the Virginia General Assembly & Gov. Tim Kaine, who showed no interest in challenging one of Virginia’s top sources of money in politics.
Five years later, as Virginia Sierra Club Vice Chair Ivy Main writes in the Washington Post, Virginia taxpayers are seeing huge costs and little benefit:
Yes, the Dominion family owns some wind farms, one just across the state line in West Virginia. But we aren’t getting a single electron of that energy, because Dominion sells it to other states that have much tougher standards for what counts as renewable energy. For us in Virginia, Dominion buys cheap certificates that no one else wants.
That’s a great deal for Dominion. According to the Southern Environmental Law Center, $1.7 million could buy enough of these certificates to satisfy Dominion’s 2010 RPS targets, qualifying the company to collect an extra $76 million over two years from its ratepayers.
Worse yet, Dominion is aggressively using its monopoly power to target any small businesses who try to sell clean energy to customers in Virginia:
The State Corporation Commission recently granted Dominion’s request to impose a “standby” charge of up to $60 per month on customers who install solar projects in the 10- to 20-kilowatt range (about twice the size of an average home’s usage). It’s enough to make these projects uneconomic and destroy the market for them. At a time when Dominion claims we need to build more power to meet demand, it is doing its best to keep small businesses from doing precisely that.
Even worse is its treatment of a Staunton-based solar company called Secure Futures, which has stepped up to the plate to put solar installations on university campuses, using a third-party power purchase agreement to ease financing. This summer, Dominion hit Secure Futures with “cease and desist” letters, claiming it can’t legally sell solar power to Washington and Lee University within Dominion’s exclusive service territory under Virginia law. Dominion, you understand, will not sell solar power to Washington and Lee, but it seems determined to make sure no one else does, either.
Where are Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli & his Tea Party friends as Dominion treads on the rights of small businesses and Virginia energy customers? Shouldn’t they be screaming about activist judges and government stifling liberty? Or does Tea Party outrage not cover regulations that enrich its polluting benefactors?
Want to tell Dominion to create jobs and clean our air by investing in wind power? Sign the Virginia Sierra Club’s petition to Dominion CEO Tom Farrell.
Cross-posted from The Green Miles