RICHMOND, Va. (WVEC) -- A Senate bill that will take Dominion Energy’s customer refunds and reinvest the money in renewable energy projects was read before the House on Wednesday.
The bill’s sponsor, District 7 Senator Frank Wagner (R), said it’s a great deal.
“It’ll reduce rates back to 2009, we’re giving a $200 million dollar refund as part of this bill and we're allowing our grid to become a much smarter grid and we're integrating renewables,” said Wagner. “I think that's a great package.”
But Democratic Senator Chap Petersen, a critic of the bill, said it will make customers pay more.
“When we allow them to take refunds that are owed to consumers and use it for extra projects we’re doing two things,” said Peterson. “One, they avoid the refunds and secondly once they build the project, then they get a profit on that project so it’s literally double dipping.”
Norfolk Dominion Energy Customer Tennille Cyphers said lawmakers need to find a balance that allows Dominion Energy to make a profit but not at the expense of customers.
“I would love to see us be more environmentally conscious and stable but at the same time, I don’t think that me personally or the average middle-class American should be the one who has to pay for it,” said Cyphers.
Governor Northam has voiced his support for the bill and said in a statement, “Just as I promised on my first day in office, I will weigh final legislation by one standard: whether it is doing the most good for the most Virginians.”
95th District Delegate Marcia Price (D) weighed in on the bill stating, “"I will continue to consider seriously the newest versions of the bills with an emphasis on protecting consumers and our environment."
The bill will now go through the House. As of Wednesday, it was referred to the Committee of Commerce and Labor.