Robert Blue, President
Dominion Virginia Power
Dear Mr. Blue:
On behalf of the Sierra Club and also as a Dominion customer who received your letter regarding SB1349, we are calling on you to fully discuss the financial information required by the State Corporation Commission to analyze Dominion electricity rates, possible overcharges and the costs of implementing the EPA's Clean Power Plan.
Dominion's entire justification for SB1349 was that costs of implementing this EPA rule would be high, and that Dominion wanted its shareholders to absorb those costs rather that passing them on to your customers. As absurd as that argument was and is, the General Assembly passed your legislation on your representation that you would continue to give the SCC full access to Dominion's financial records.
In your letter, you said, ""Nor would Dominion's books be closed to SCC inspection, as some contend. The base rate review scheduled for this year would go on. Beyond that, we would continue to provide the SCC with full access to our financials."
Additionally, your lobbyist John Rust at the House hearing on SB1349 in responding to a question from Delegate Tom Rust about the audits said "In terms of the review by the commission, the commission has the authority to do the audit, do the inspection of the books, to get the reports from the utility during this period, but the rates stay frozen during this period."
Now we learn that you want to withhold the financial information that would permit the SCC to evaluate the very claims you asserted to justify passage of SB1349. We find that position unconscionable.
What exactly is Dominion trying to hide. Mr. Blue? Come clean Mr. Blue and give the SCC full access your books as promised in your letter.
Glen Besa, Director
Sierra Club-Virginia Chapter
When I looked for lobbying expenditure data on the VPAP website the end last year, perennial top spender Dominion VA Power had been bumped from the #1 position in 2014 by the Koch Bros' Americans for Prosperity which was out to kill "Obamacare."
If you visit VPAP.org today that data is gone, and the only lobbying related data provided is for gifts and entertainment lavished on our legislators. The total cost of lobbying programs is no longer up on the site, even though this data is reported to Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
When I inquired with VPAP about the absence of this data, their response was: "We made a decision to no longer include the total expenditure numbers on the site. They are essentially meaningless because of inconsistencies in the way lobbyist compensation is reported." In other words, the law is so poor that data is not reliable.
After seeing our immediate past Governor convicted of corruption, another way to look at it is that Virginia is so corrupt that it is no longer worth keeping score.
However flawed the data, it is what the registered lobbyists report to the Secretary of Commerce, and that data deserves to be accessible.
At least for now, campaign expenditures are still reported on VPAP.org. And Virginia's largest polluter, Dominion Virginia Power, remains the #1 non-political party affiliated spender at over $1.2 million for 2014-- over 5 times more than the next largest contributor--coal giant Alpha Natural Resources at $224,000 and cancer facilitator Altria at $220,000.
I'm not sure how we'll fill the data gap now that VPAP has stopped reporting lobbying expenditures. At least for the dirty energy polluters like Dominion and Alpha, Sierra Club will be pulling the reports from the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth and putting the data on our website. Look for that data on our website in the near future.