From Clean Virginia:
Dominion-backed committees block campaign finance, rate reform bills
Dominion Energy has contributed over $1 million to members of three powerful committees
Richmond — Members of three key legislative committees backed significantly by Dominion Energy failed to advance bipartisan bills that would prohibit campaign contributions from public utilities and protect Virginians from unnecessarily high electricity bills, a popular talking point last year for Virginia candidates.
“Members of these powerful committees talked a tough game on the campaign trail, but ultimately defaulted to Dominion Energy over their constituents yet again,” said Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore. “Our failed utility regulatory system leaves Virginians, in the best of circumstances, paying some of the highest bills in the nation, being overcharged by hundreds of millions of dollars annually by Dominion, and in the midst of a weather crisis like last month’s snowstorm and grid failure, stuck in dangerous situations with little assurance that there is an end in sight. Dominion’s self-regulation and political manipulation hurts Virginians and it must end.”
The members of the Privileges and Elections House and Senate committees who voted against the bipartisan bills that sought to ban public utilities regulated by the General Assembly from donating to state lawmakers accepted over $500,000 from Dominion Energy in the past year. These bills included SB 45 introduced by Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax), SB 568 introduced by Sen. Richard Stuart (R-Westmoreland), HB 71 introduced by. Lee Ware (R-Powhatan), and HB 524 introduced by Kelly Fowler (D-Virginia Beach). And despite General Assembly candidates campaigning on lowering high electricity bills for customers, a Republican-controlled House committee failed to advance a bill that sought to remedy the ability of Virginia’s largest utility monopoly Dominion Energy to overcharge customers by over $1.1 billion without issuing full refunds. Del. Ware and Del. Sally Hudson (D-Charlottesville) introduced the bill (HB 1288), referred to by advocates as the Ratepayer Protection Act, marking the third year in a row that lawmakers have introduced bipartisan rate reform legislation.
“For years, Dominion Energy has rigged the system, contributing gobs of cash to members of the General Assembly, and chipping away at regulators’ ability to fairly oversee Virginia’s electric providers. As a result, the utility monopoly has gotten away with overcharging customers by $1.1 billion in recent years. Each lawmaker that continues to oppose common-sense good governance and rate reform is failing families and small businesses across the Commonwealth,” said Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore.