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State Regulators Reject Dominion Rate Increase For Chesterfield Power Upgrades

VPM News intern Reed Canaan reported this story.

Virginia regulators ruled on Monday that Dominion Energy cannot charge customers for upgrades made to Chesterfield power units that the company knew would have to be replaced. 

In June 2015, Dominion invested $18 million in two coal-powered units in Chesterfield to comply with environmental regulations regarding coal ash. Dominion made this investment even though it expected to retire or retrofit the units within five years. The units were retired in March 2019.

Dominion wanted to increase customers’ bills to cover the cost of this $18 million investment, but the State Corporation Commission rejected that request, stating that Dominion failed to prove that this investment was “reasonable and prudent” as required by state law.

Dominion spokesman Jeremy Slayton defended the spending.

“At the time we made the decision to move forward with the projects, those units were serving a benefit to the customers,” he said.

The Commission did approve a customer bill increase to pay for environmental upgrades at other coal-powered plants. Dominion is still confirming what the new rate hike will be.

Ken Schrad with the State Corporation Commission said Dominion’s initial proposal for a bill increase, which included covering the $18 million investment, would result in an increase of about $2.15 per month for the average customer.