Energy bill could have big impact on Virginians’ bills

Posted at 1:20 PM, Feb 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-13 17:17:30-05

NORFOLK, Va. - Lawmakers say a bill making its way through the General Assembly may be one of the most important pieces of legislation in years. It all has to do with energy companies and it could impact customers' bills.

On Tuesday, the bill got final passage in the House of Delegates, but it now contains an important amendment. The Senate passed its version of the bill on Friday.

The bill would repeal a 2015 freeze of rates, which was meant to help power companies deal with new federal regulations. Those regulations have since been repealed, but power companies like Dominion Energy have seen huge excess profits.

The bill would kick some money back to customers and Dominion says it would build up the power grid. "It's going to transform the electric distribution grid moving us from old technology that has been put in years ago and rotary dial phones to a modern grid with two way communications to protect us from cyber attacks," said. Del. Terry Kilgore, a republican from Scott County, who sponsored the House of Delegates version of the bill.

The idea has drawn concern from some progressives, who questioned whether language in the bill would allow Dominion Energy to pay for the improvements by keeping excess profits and charging customers. "One of the things that concerns a lot of people is the so-called 'Double Dip,'" said Del. David Toscano, the House Democratic leader.

An amendment clarifying that says there can't be any "double dipping." The amendment passed the House on Monday night.