The lies just keep coming from Dominion Energy, and from its bought-and-paid-for government officials like State Senator Dick $a$law (D-Dominion). Check out the following two recent, egregious examples of Dominion’s lying and Orwellian-style propaganda.
First, today’s Daily Press reports (bolding added by me for emphasis):
A series of surcharges that Dominion Energy Virginia says it needs — one of which it said ought to be easier to get after this year’s regulatory reform — could offset some savings on customers’ monthly bills that had been promised in that reform.
Whether they end up wiping out all the promised savings, though, “We just can’t say now,” spokesman Rayhan Daudani said.
“Dominion’s constant messaging on having the lowest rates, the reality is that Dominion customers do not experience lower bills,” said Carmen Bingham, Affordable Clean Energy Project coordinator at the Virginia Poverty Law Center.
“Virginia consumers’ bills have grown from 2007 through 2017 not just from the incremental base rate increases, but more because of the RACs, rate adjustment clauses, that have been added on top of the base rates,” she said.
“You’re not telling me anything new,” said state Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax County, who was one of the most vocal opponents of this year’s legislation.
“Dominion writes utility legislation in Virginia,” he said. “They do it to make more profit.”
Now, recall that “Dominion Dick” $a$law repeatedly assured everyone, in arguing for passage of the disgraceful “Dominion Bill” in the 2018 Virginia General Assembly session, with these exact words: “this bill provides over $1 Billion in customer benefits and refunds, including passing along the entire recent Federal Corporate Tax cut from the utilities to ratepayers.”
Of course, $a$law and his masters at Dominion were lying. In fact, as one Virginia Democratic legislative insider tells me, “our regulatory process allows Dominion to stack onto base rates with numerous [rate adjustment clauses – RACs].” And as another knowledgeable Virginia Democrat adds, the Dominion bill allows the monopoly utility to “make money by guaranteeing a rate of return on unnecessary undergrounding projects.” As if that’s not bad enough, according to this source, “everything else in the bill, including the solar, is bullshit greenwashing, as Dominion is not required to build ANY of the solar — and that’ll be charged to customers as a RAC anyway.”
In short, Dominion and other advocates for the “Dominion bill” were either misled, naive, uninformed, corrupt, lying, or just completely full of crap. Take your pick of any or all of the above.
Now, if that didn’t get your blood pressure up a bit – or perhaps especially if it did? – check out the following video, by David Martin, from this week’s meeting of the “Governor’s Advisory Council on Environmental Justice.” The video is of Dominion’s “External Affairs Manager” reading off company talking points – and somehow doing so with a straight face – about how:
a) Dominion (supposedly) really does “have respect for the history and the people of Buckingham County in the Union Hill community; we’ve worked very hard in the last several years to build strong relationships with the leaders and the residents in the community, we value their perspective and we’ve made sincere efforts to address their concerns.” For what’s REALLY going at Union Hill, see Jon Sokolow’s piece, Echoes of a Dark Past at Virginia’s Standing Rock: The Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
b) Supposedly “natural gas infrastructure plays a vital role in
Virginia’s economy and the daily lives of millions Virginians, including residents of the Union Hill community and Buckingham County” and is supposedly “critical to our company’s and our region’s transition with coal to cleaner energy sources.” Of course this isn’t true; by far and away a better solution than a huge fracked-gas pipeline would be to push forward aggressively with energy efficiency and distributed power sources like community solar.
c) Laughably, Dominion’s spokesperson claims “this project is going to help improve the overall quality of life in Buckingham County and it’s going to generate more than a million dollars a year a new local property tax revenue that can be used for meaningful improvements to public schools, libraries police, fire departments and other vital local services.” Of course, Dominion doesn’t talk about any of the NEGATIVE impacts – on property values, health, etc. – of living right near a pipeline and huge compressor station.
d) And perhaps most ridiculous, the spokesman says with a straight face that “the Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been one of the more comprehensively reviewed energy projects in our region’s history; in nearly every aspect of the project, we have gone above and beyond regulatory requirements that are designed to protect the environment and public health.” OK, that one’s just beyond pathetic; doesn’t even merit a response.
e) Finally, the Dominion rep “urge[s] the council to fully consider all perspectives before submitting recommendations.” In other words, the council should consider DOMINION’s perspective. No thanks.
For an excellent response to this drivel, watch the following video, in which local resident Chad Oba makes several important points:
a) “For one thing, the community advisory group that they did give us a chance to participate in, initially there wasn’t anybody from Union Hill in that [group].”
b) “And when we went to this group to participate, we made it very clear that we felt we really didn’t want a compressor station in our neighborhood. None of that was ever addressed. Never ever ever addressed; it was always their agenda to push forward the idea that, yes, there WAS going to be one, no matter what.”
c) “We really only got to participate in deciding the color of the building, of the compressor station itself, maybe the trees that would be planted, these sorts of things. They never really addressed the safety issues…They basically closed the meeting before [a film about how these things can explode, etc.] could be shown.”
d) “It’s just been lately…that they have reached out to us, ONLY because the Advisory Council has taken an interest in us, because we are at risk out here, we are at great risk out here…our health will be affected [by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline]…There are mostly elderly and children in this community…with already existing health conditions that would be worsened by the emissions that would be emitted by this very large, very large compressor station.”
Finally, check out the following video of anti-pipelines activist Lee Williams, stressing that “time is of the essence” and that Gov. Northam needs the Advisory Council on Environmental Justice’s recommendations quickly. Williams added that “the life-threatening burdens Dominion is proposing to place on Union Hill residents are the result of unchecked, systemic oppression perpetuated by the fossil fuel industry, which exposes communities to health, economic and social hazards…[particularly to African-American and other person-of-color communities]…The racial disparities among communities impacted by environmental pollution in the United States are stark…How far away is the nearest emergency room to the residents of Union Hill?…Unfortunately, Virginia is investing in one of the largest and dirtiest energy infrastructure projects…Just because these fossil fuel companies bring short-term jobs to an area doesn’t mean [they] can do it at the expense of those communities’ health and well being…Is it worth the cost and burden to this community of Union Hill for such a short-sighted and limited project?”
P.S. One more video…some excellent comments, including by Harrison Wallace of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (around 33 minutes in).