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GabeElsner

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Dominion Thwarts Solar Net Metering Bill in Virginia

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This 54kW solar PV system provides electricity to a multi-family low-income housing complex owned by a non-profit in Russell County, Virginia.Cross-posted from the Energy & Policy Institute.

Last week, Dominion Virginia Power, the largest utility in Virginia, successfully blocked a solar net-metering bill from moving forward in the Special Subcommittee on Energy in the House of Delegates Commerce & Labor Committee. Days earlier, Dominion had attempted to hijack a bill meant to boost the installation of solar on multi-family housing communities. According to Virginia Sierra Club’s Ivy Main, Dominion lobbied for “substitute language that would give the utility the exclusive right to build and own community systems and sell the power to the customers” thereby forcing multi-family residents to purchase solar only from Dominion. The utility company was unsuccessful, but still managed to stop the bill in its tracks. 

From Ivy Main’s Power for the People VA blog:

Solar advocates and industry members successfully beat back Dominion Power’s bid to hijack the multi-family net metering provisions of HB 879 (Yost) and HB 906 (Krupicka). Alas, Dominion got its revenge Thursday in the House Commerce & Labor energy subcommittee, where the Republican majority had clearly come prepared to kill the bills. The two bills, plus Delegate Surovell’s solar gardens bill, HB 1158, were tabled with little debate, though with dissenting votes from the subcommittee's three Democrats.
The ten delegates who were against the solar bills all came from the Republican party but more importantly, Dominion’s campaign contributions to these ten delegates may have led to the delegates’ opposition to the pro-solar bill. 
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