RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — State regulators say customers of Virginia’s largest electric monopoly paid more than $300 million in excessive rates last year.
A new report by the State Corporation Commission said Dominion Energy’s base rates produced a nearly 14 percent return on equity, a measurement of profitability, in 2017. The commission has ruled recently that a fair rate should be around 9 percent or 10 percent.
According to a Dominion Energy Spokeswoman:
‘Each year Dominion Energy estimates new connections, how much energy customers will use, what the weather will be, how often we’ll have to restore power after a storm or hurricane…As a regulated company, the SCC determines our rates and reviews our earning and from time to time will order us to provide refunds to our customers. This year, the additional earnings will be reinvested to help pay for all sorts of things customers have asked for like renewable energy, more reliability and a more modern energy grid – without raising rates. The new bill passed this year is good for Virginia. It will enable us to have fewer outages, more underground power lines and an expansion of renewable energy like the offshore wind turbines we’re planning off the coast of Virginia Beach, the first in the country in federal waters. So we’re very proud to be leaders when it comes to investing in cleaner, stronger, more reliable energy.’
Appalachian Power, the state’s second-largest utility, produced excess revenues of more than $26 million in 2017.
A new law passed this year makes it easier for the two companies to hold on to excess earnings rather than refund them to customers. The utilities said the law was needed to spur investments in the electric grid and renewable energy.