As Virginia attorneys negotiate proposals to reform the legal guidelines regulating the state’s two largest electrical utilities, a separate push is being made to reinvigorate a fee meant to permit extra in-depth consideration of such points outdoors the legislative session.
Senate Invoice 1166 from Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, and Home Invoice 2275 from Home Majority Chief Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, would define a better function for the Fee on Electrical Utility Regulation, or CEUR, in reviewing the state’s vitality coverage.
Whereas the Virginia State Company Fee overlooks utility regulation within the commonwealth, the CEUR, established in 2008 and composed of attorneys, is charged with overseeing how the SCC implements the legal guidelines governing Dominion Vitality and Appalachian Energy Firm.
At the moment, legislators engaged on charge regulation proposals are “nearly depending on business lobbyists and environmental organizations for data” and should “mediate between the 2,” Surovell mentioned. Utility regulation, he added, is “not on a regular basis material.”
CEUR would “assist members who get appointed to the fee study vitality,” Kilgore mentioned. “We want extra of us concerned in that complete space.”
Amongst different modifications, the proposed laws would add three citizen seats to the CEUR and require it to satisfy no less than twice per yr.
Surovell has requested $1 million so as to add seven workers members to the fee.
Regardless of a legislation final session extending the CEUR’s time period to 2024, the fee has not met since 2017. After the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee killed greater than half a dozen charge reform proposals in 2021, the committee voted to ship a letter to the CEUR asking it to evaluate 4 of the payments.
“We’re embroiled in extremely complicated issues right here,” mentioned Sen. Monty Mason, D-Williamsburg, on the time. “And I feel we have got to determine a mechanism within the off season the place we are able to delve into a few of these issues.
Restarting the fee is “crucial,” mentioned Kilgore. “We get out right here in a brief session proper now, transferring all this vitality coverage by. It would be loads higher if we had time to debate, get all of the stakeholders collectively earlier than we get right here to have a few of these objects labored out.”
Surovell and Kilgore’s payments this session would additionally require the governor to current his statutorily mandated four-year vitality plan and the utilities to current their built-in useful resource plans, which define plans for future utility investments, to the CEUR. Moreover, the fee can be charged with reviewing methods to entry federal funding for vitality tasks and making a Commonwealth Vitality Analysis Fund. The analysis fund can be administered legislatively as an alternative of implementing an identical administrative-run Virginia Energy Innovation Fund and Program, a mission backed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin that’s being superior by laws from Sen. Jill Vogel, R-Fauquier.
“Vitality is one thing that’s such an enormous a part of our economic system,” Dana Wiggins, director of outreach and monetary advocacy for the Virginia Poverty Legislation Heart, advised the Mercury. “Everybody wants entry to vitality, all of us rely on entry to electrical energy. It’s one thing that basically deserves extra consideration and time.”
The Normal Meeting has seen growing requires electrical utility reform in recent times. Two sweeping items of laws launched this session had been anticipated to be thought-about in Senate committee Monday however had been faraway from the agenda as negotiations proceed between Dominion, the Southern Environmental Legislation Heart, Clear Virginia, Virginia Poverty Legislation Heart, industrial teams and extra.
One other invoice, being carried by Sen. Frank Ruff, R-Mecklenburg, would separate Appalachian Energy Firm from the system of regulation that governs Dominion beneath state legislation.
Senate Commerce and Labor Committee members on Monday moved Surovell’s CEUR invoice ahead with out dialogue. Kilgore’s invoice has not but been taken up within the Home.