RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - New utility-backed legislation in Virginia would mean lower monthly bills in the short term but would still allow electric monopolies to charge rates that regulators say are currently producing excessive profits of hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

The electric regulation overhaul was introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers Friday. They say it would help customers by expanding solar power and improving the electric grid.

Under the proposal, the state's two largest electric utilities, Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power, would give refunds on excessive profits earned in past years and pass on savings from the federal tax overhaul.

But the legislation severely curtails regulators' ability to reduce rates in future years and is being panned by critics as harmful to ratepayers.