RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia customers will be effectively double-charged for future electric infrastructure if a bill advanced by the Senate is signed into law.

SB 966, patroned by Senator Frank W. Wagner (R-Virginia Beach), allows Dominion and Appalachian power companies to make customers pay twice for the same infrastructure.

According to the legislation, monopoly utilities would be able to use excess earnings from over-charges paid by customers during 2015-2019 to build new electric infrastructure like power lines or substations. The utilities could then bill customers twice for these capital projects by incorporating them into the company’s rate base for which customers are charged annually.

Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) motioned to amend the bill to ban double-charging.[1]

The vote to amend SB 966 to strip out double-charging was 13 yes, 26 no, with one Senator not voting.

In this motion, a vote yes is a vote to ban double-charging.

Yeas: Senators Black, Chase, Deeds, Ebbin, McPike, Peake, Petersen, Spurill, Stanley, Stuart, Suetterlein, and Wexton.

Nays: Senators Barker, Carrico, Chafin, Cosgrove, Dance, DeSteph, Dunnavant, Edwards, Favola, Hanger, Howell, Lewis, Locke, Lucas, Marsden, Mason, McClellan, McDougle, Norment, Obenshain, Reeves, Ruff, Saslaw, Sturdevant, Surrovell, Vogel, and Wagner.

Not voting: Newman.

Following that vote, Senator Petersen attempted to amend the legislation to strip out a $50 million cap on future rate reductions. Repeatedly, at the moment of the vote, power surges crashed the voting machine, forcing Senators to cast a roll call voice vote.

The Senate of Virginia, along with most of the City of Richmond, buys its electricity from Virginia’s largest monopoly electricity provider, Dominion Energy.

[1] Analysis of the legislation by the State Corporation Commission (SCC) details the double-charging. See pages 5-6. Document attached. Feburary 7, 2018 letter from the SCC to members of the Senate.