Press Release: Governor Backs Petersen Legislation to Restore Electric Rate Review

RICHMOND, Va. – Early this morning, Governor Terence R. McAuliffe announced his support for Senator Chap Petersen's legislation to restore rate review for electric utilities like Dominion Energy (formerly Dominion Virginia Power).

Governor McAuliffe: "I support Chap Petersen on this . . . The reason we did this, lets be fair, was because the Clean Power Plan and the increased costs that would come with the Clean Power Plan. Now, if the Clean power plan, from what I read, and from what I hear from Washington from President Trump and his new proposed EPA administrator, the Clean Power Plan is going to go away . . . The reason we had this was because the costs was up, if we don't have those increased costs, because of the Clean Power Plan, then that should be off the table, go back to where we were, we don't need to freeze anything, because we don't have to lock in, we don't have those potential increased costs, the increased costs aren't there, why should they be protected. So I support Chap Petersen on this."

Governor McAuliffe: "If Chap Petersen can get me a bill on my desk I'd sign it, let me be clear."

Senator Petersen: "There's a better chance of me starting for the Redskins as quarterback. Governor, you need to send down the legislation."

Governor McAuliffe: "Can you get me the votes to pass it Chap Petersen?"

Senator Petersen: "I'll tell you what, you send it down and tell the Democrats what to do they'll follow your lead, they usually do."

The Governor backed the legislation on the John Fredericks Show, which was recorded from Petersen's office this morning. The audio can be heard here.

Petersen introduced his legislation, SB 1095, after the General Assembly ​passed, and the Governor signed, ​a 2015 bill (SB 1349) that froze the State Corporation Commission (SCC) rate review of Dominion Virginia Power and Appalachian Power from 2015 to 2020.

According to a review by Petersen's office, Dominion Energy could over-earn approximately $1 billion during the period which SCC review is suspended.

Earlier in the 2017 session, Petersen introduced a bill (SB 1095) to re-regulate electric utilities when the Trump administration eliminates the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan. The prospect of increased regulation from the plan was used by electric utilities to justify the 2015 rate review freeze.​ The proposal was rejected by the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on January 16th.​