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Environmental costs result in rate increase

Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at 4:01 pm

Last month, Dominion Power added a charge to bills that produced such a slight increase that many customers may not have noticed. But “one thing is for certain, rates will continue to increase,” and by the end of 2023, the average residential customer is projected to be paying over $350 more per year for electricity, said Kenneth Schrad, director of division of information resources for the State Corporation Commission.

A bill from Dominion is made up of several components, including the base rate, fuel rate and riders, which are vehicles that allow Dominion to charge users for the company’s expenses.

On November 1, Rider E went into effect, letting Dominion charge customers for the environmental costs it’s paying for cleaner disposal of coal ash, which comes from coal-fired power plants at the Mount Storm Power Station in West Virginia, Clover Power Station in Halifax County and two units in Chesterfield County. For the average customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, this multi-billion dollar effort bumped up the bill by close to $2 a month, but the fee isn’t displayed as a separate line item.

Dominion also proposed raising the rate of return on equity from  9.2 percent to 10.75 percent, but the SCC rejected the proposal.

Dominion is planning new capital expenditures that are estimated to cost over $12 billion between 2019 and 2023. If the plan is approved, the company be will able to collect a return on equity for those projects from its customers. And at 10.75 percent, that could have cost customers an additional $1.4 billion.

The SCC found that the proposed rate was not consistent with the public interest, and the current rate “reasonably balances the interests of [Dominion], its customers, and its investors.”

For the full article, pick up the latest Westmoreland News 12/4/19