“There’s no question we’re going to transition into a green energy future. The question is when and how and at what cost,” said Rayhan Daudani, media relations manager for Dominion Power.
Dominion wants to make its home state a national leader in clean, affordable and reliable energy and believes its customers share that vision. But there are hefty price tags associated with accomplishing that, and a lot of those costs will be passed along to customers. As rates rise, people will want to know if their money is being spent wisely, and Dominion realizes that scrutiny must be addressed.
“Our nearly 12,000 workers in Virginia wake up each day with the customer in mind. We work hard to make sure they have power, that its being made and delivered sustainably and that their bills remain affordable. Striking the right balance is a constant effort [but] we remain committed to delivering our customers a great value for their energy dollar,” Daudani said.
However, the State Corporation Commission’s regulates energy companies and its idea of what’s good for customers often differs from Dominion’s idea. One example is the handling of coal ash.
Dominion’s coal ash plan
In 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency added rules regulating how power providers operate and close coal ash ponds, which hold the waste from coal-burning power stations. Virginia followed suit, creating state regulations.
Dominion had to comply and decided to transition to less carbon-intensive power technologies and close all coal ash ponds in the state and has retired 14 units.
By law, Dominion is allowed to recoup environmental costs from customers. In August, the State Corporation Commission announced it approved Rider E, which initially, will allow Dominion to recover a portion of the costs for coal ash disposal from sites in West Virginia, Halifax County and two units in Chesterfield County. That rider took effect November 1, and costs the average residential customer that uses 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity an additional $2 per month, according to the SCC.
Dominion proudly touts that its coal ash strategy “goes above and beyond” all state, federal and local regulations. The SCC found that the plan aimed to go too far on the customers’ dollar and refused to allow Dominion to recover costs for two addition Chesterfield units because “Dominion has not established that the cost incurred … was reasonable and prudent at the time such cost was incurred,” the units are “not providing benefits to retail customers,” and since they are already retired, the “investment is not necessary to comply with federal regulations.”
Dominion says its commitment is two-fold—to customers and to the environment—and the improvements its making is that help ensure a safe and environmentally sound future for the communities that it calls home.
“Our efforts to safely handle coal ash through additional projects that are environmentally sound and the best interest of our customers will continue, both at locations where coal is still used as a power source and sites where coal units have been shut down or replaced,” said Daudani.
For the full article, pick up the latest Northumberland Echo 12/11/19