RICHMOND, Va. -- Dominion Energy's residential customers would pay an average of $9 additional dollars per month if the State Corporation Commission approves a request from Dominion President Edward Baine to increase rates due to rising fuel costs.
Baine sent a letter this week to the SCC making the request.
In the letter, Baine requested permission to raise customers' electric rates by roughly seven percent for the next three years.
He said the increase was necessary because of rising fuel prices due to the pandemic, inflation, and the war in Ukraine.
Dominion uses fossil fuels like natural gas and coal to produce energy.
Without the mitigation proposal, Dominion spokesperson Craig Harper said residential customers would see a $24 increase per month.
Baine added that Dominion was taking action to reduce customers' exposure to future fuel cost fluctuations by investing in solar and off-shore wind projects.
However, Walton Shepherd with the Natural Resources Defense Council, argued Dominion needed to do more with renewables to reduce its reliance on fuel.
"Rather than look out for customers' best interest, Dominion went on a building spree of large natural gas plants that they largely didn't need but was very profitable for them," Shepherd said.
Shepherd pointed to data he put together that he said showed Dominion's rates were among the highest in the South.
"The Federal Energy Information Administration just looks at what rates of all electrical utilities across the country have, and they compile it annually, and they show that Dominion has high rates," Shepherd said.
He encouraged customers to take advantage of Dominion's energy efficiency programs to reduce their bills.
"Like swapping out old lights with new modern LED lights, improving your HVAC systems so your house can stay cool or warm in the winter, but at a lower cost as well as insulating homes too," Shepherd said.
A spokesperson for Dominion declined to do an on-camera interview prior to the SCC's decision. However, they did provide the following information via email:
"The data that Mr. Shepherd references is from 2020. This federal data from 2022 shows that our rates are lower than 4 other southern states (Florida, South Carolina, Alabama and Texas):
Electric Power Monthly - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) [eia.gov]. We are also lower than neighboring Maryland and Washington D.C.
Also of note, our rates are below the national average of 13.83 cents per kwh. Nationwide 29 states plus the District of Columbia have higher rates than Virginia.
In the coming weeks, the SCC will schedule a public hearing on the request and information about how the public can comment.
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