RICHMOND, Va. — Dominion Energy residential customers would pay an average of $9 more per month if the State Corporation Commission approves a request by Dominion Chairman Edward Baine to raise rates because of rising fuel costs.
Baine sent a letter this week to CSC making the request.
In the letter, Baine requested permission to increase customer electricity rates by about seven percent for the next three years.
He said the increase was necessary due to rising fuel prices due to the pandemic, inflation and the war in Ukraine.
Dominion uses fossil fuels like natural gas and coal to generate power.
Without the mitigation proposal, Dominion spokesman Craig Harper said residential customers would see an increase of $24 per month.
Baine added that Dominion was taking steps to reduce customer exposure to future fuel cost fluctuations by investing in offshore solar and wind projects.
However, Walton Shepherd of the Natural Resources Defense Council, argued that Dominion needed to do more with renewables to reduce its reliance on fuel.
“Rather than looking out for the best interests of customers, Dominion embarked on a frenzy of building large natural gas-fired power plants that it largely didn’t need, but was very profitable for it,” Shepherd said. .
Shepherd pointed to data he’s gathered that he says shows Dominion’s rates are among the highest in the South.
“The Federal Energy Information Administration just looks at the rates of all the electric utilities across the country, and they compile them every year, and they show Dominion has high rates,” Shepherd said.
He encouraged customers to take advantage of Dominion’s energy efficiency programs to reduce their bills.
“Like replacing old lights with new, modern LED lights, upgrading your HVAC systems so your home can stay cool or warm in the winter, but at a lower cost, and also insulating homes,” Shepherd said.
A Dominion spokesperson declined to do an on-camera interview ahead of the SCC’s decision. However, they provided the following information via email:
“The data Mr. Shepherd is referring to is from 2020. This 2022 federal data shows that our rates are lower than 4 other southern states (Florida, SC, Alabama and SC):
Electric Power Monthly – US Energy Information Administration (EIA) [eia.gov]. We are also lower than neighboring Maryland and Washington DC”
In the coming weeks, the CSC will hold a public hearing on the application and information on how the public can comment.
This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email [email protected] to send a tip.