( – promoted by lowkell)
Governor McAuliffe: If you sign this bill, SB1349, Dominion Virginia Power and Appalachian Power will be exempt from public scrutiny of their rates. This is occuring just at the time that the utilities will be making decisions about generation planning in response to the EPA Clean Power Plant rule — when public oversight is critical.
Instead, please veto this bill and show your independence from Dominion Power and their vast campaign treasure chest. Do this because it’s the right thing to do, because it will save Virginians money on their electric bills, and because it will stand up against public corruption. I’d point out that the solar provisions added to the bill are initiatives that Dominion was taking anyway, and that the energy efficiency provisions are limited and have no required minimum implementation standards, so these are not arguments in favor of signing this bill.
I hope you will amend this bill to include MANDATORY renewable energy portfolio standards for Virginia-only solar energy generation as you promised during your campaign, and provisions authorizing community solar projects and power purchase agreements through third-party financing of rooftop solar, then send the bill back with those provisions. That would be best of all.
Last week, Virginia’s two largest electric power companies demonstrated absolute power over the Virginia General Assembly. Dominion Virginia Power wrote the bill, which later included Appalachian Power. SB1349 removes these supposed “public service” utilities from rate regulation by the State Corporation Commission for up to five years. Yet, these utilities maintain their state-sanctioned monopolies, forbidding competition. As an added “bonus,” Dominion has worked to kill all meaningful legislation this session that would promote rooftop solar in Virginia.
This terrible bill was sponsored by Sen. Frank Wagner (R-Virginia Beach), a Dominion Resources stockholder. Wagner’s latest mandated financial public disclosure shows him owning between $10,000 and $50,000 of Dominion stock. He sold those shares, under public pressure. Nine additional legislators own the same amount or more of Dominion stock. Only two withheld their vote from the bill. So much for General Assembly ethics reform.
“In testimony last month before West Virginia’s energy regulators, Appalachian Power President and Chief Operating Officer Charles Patton said [his] company was earning more than it should in Virginia and that further refunds could be necessary…Those refunds would be delayed or canceled under Wagner’s bill.” (Lynchburg News & Advance, 2/6/15)
But this is Dominion Power’s bill. How did Dominion come by such political power?
In 2014, a year with no scheduled legislative or statewide elections, Dominion contributed $625,000 to candidate campaigns and Virginia political action committees.
Over the last 10 years, Dominion donated $13.1 million to politicians across Virginia and to PACs from both parties–more than double any other corporate donor in Virginia. You, Gov. McAuliffe, and all politicians across the Commonwealth have benefited from these donations.
So when Dominion wants legislation, our legislators let the power company write it. Then they practically fall over each other to approve it. To update Lord Acton’s famous admonition: “Dominion Power corrupts, and absolute dominion by Dominion, corrupts absolutely.”