RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Activists rallied Monday outside Dominion Energy’s offices in Richmond to demand a refund for customers after the utility company made hundreds of millions of dollars in extra profits.
A new report from the State Corporation Commission revealed Dominion Energy collected nearly $380 million in over-earnings in 2017 and 2018.
Due to a new Virginia law, Dominion Energy isn’t obligated to return the money to customers as refunds. The company can reinvest the money into projects, like updating the state’s electrical grid. Activists say customers are hurting.
“For years, Dominion has been spending the hard-earned money of Virginians to rig the regulatory system that is supposed to be protecting us from monopolies,” Harrison Wallace, Virginia director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, said. “We are here today to say goodbye to the old ‘Virginia Way’ and reinstate the people of Virginia as the ones in charge of this Commonwealth.”
“And when you go ask those folks, when you go and talk to them, the one thing that they say is they have to choose between their rent and is their energy bills,” Wallace continued.
The rally came a day before Dominion Energy will go before a state commission to see if it can raise the percentage of profits for shareholders. A company spokesperson said market trends rose slightly this year compared to historic lows in 2018.
“We’re making investments in infrastructure to transform our energy grid, reduce emissions, and improve service to our customers. Our ROE represents the cost to finance these and other major utility investments and is determined by market trends and benchmarks for financing similar projects,” Rayhan Daudani, a Dominion Energy spokesman, said Monday. “Regulatory Research Associates found that there was a slight uptick in these market rates during the first half of 2019 compared to the historic lows of 2018.”