From Clean Virginia:
BREAKING: SCC Extends Utility Disconnection Ban Until August Legislative Session
A bipartisan group of nearly 60 lawmakers requested additional data to develop comprehensive legislative response
June 12, 2020
Charlottesville — Today the Virginia State Corporation Commission issued an order extending the current utility disconnection ban until August 31 to “allow time for the General Assembly to meet in special session to address the COVID-19 crisis in a more comprehensive manner.” The SCC also directed utilities to offer up to 12-month extended repayment plans for residential and small-business customers and compelled utilities to submit data on customer arrearages, although the order fell well short of compelling the full range of data legislators requested. In response, Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore said:
“Virginians can rest easier knowing that their power won’t be shut off during the hottest months of the summer. The State Corporation Commission (SCC) heard a conclusive message from over a third of the General Assembly, dozens of advocacy organizations, the Office of the Attorney General, and hundreds of Virginians: ‘no disconnections during an economic and public health crisis.’ Virginian families and businesses should never face electricity shut-offs while Dominion Energy transfers hundreds of millions in overcharges every year from Virginians to its top executives and Wall Street shareholders, including a record-high dividend payout this month.”
“A comprehensive legislative response that treats all parties fairly requires absolute transparency. The SCC should comply with the full extent of the requests from lawmakers and advocacy groups for additional data from utilities regarding earnings, revenues, and access to capital. While the SCC’s order represents progress, it falls short in providing legislators all the information they need to ensure that Virginia consumers and businesses do not bear the brunt of COVID-related hardship while Dominion Energy executives and shareholders enjoy record profits and payouts.”
Several key provisions included in the SCC’s order that will apply during the extended moratorium:
- Residential and small business customers that have fallen behind on their utility bills because of the COVID-19 crisis must be offered extended payment plans of up to 12 months.
- For arrearages that are the direct result of the COVID-19 crisis (beginning in February 2020), utilities cannot charge late fees, carrying charges, or reconnection fees for eligible customers previously disconnected seeking to reconnect.
- Utilities for the first time must collect and report the following data on a monthly basis by customer class:
- The outstanding aged accounts receivable balances as of May 31, 2020, resulting from the suspension of service disconnections in this docket;
- Associated collections from customers during each of the months of June, July, and August 2020;
- Associated additions to aged accounts receivable balances during each of the months of June, July, and August 2020; and
- The resulting aged accounts receivable balances, net of collections and additions, as of June 30, July 31, and August 31, 2020.