Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Details Slowly Emerge On Dominion Re-Reg Bill

Hat tip to Walker for pointing us to this Richmond Times-Dispatch story on Governor Kaine's amendments to the Dominion re-regulation bill. Although details are still pretty sketchy, it appears the Governor did add some additional incentives for conservation and renewables. We'll wait for additional info promised tomorrow from both the Times-Dispatch and Washington Post before embarking on any analysis.
Here's today's Dispatch story:

Changes in power re-regulation bill


Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has proposed several changes in an electric re-regulation bill passed by this year's General Assembly but none alter the bill's hybrid approach to re-regulation proposed by Dominion Virginia Power last December.

The governor's amendments include new incentives for constructing renewable sources of power generation such as solar, wind or hydro power plants and for facilities to capture carbon emitted by fossil-fuel burning plants.

Amendents also raise from 5 percent to 10 percent a goal in the legislation's for energy efficiency efforts and make several changes to a section that provides incentives to utilities to add renewable energy to their generation mix. Those are apart from the governor's proposed incentive for renewable facility construction.

Kaine's amendents also increase from 0.5 percent to 1 percent the leeway given the State Corporation Commission to adjust the return on shareholder equity that utilities are allowed to earn and accelerate the return of any excess utility earnings to shareholders.

One change that could prove controversial with consumer groups exempts large commercial and industrial consumers of electricity from having to cover the cost to utilities of adding renewable sources to their generation mix. That cost would now be borne by residential and other smaller consumers.

Last December Dominion surprised lawmakers and others by proposing to return the state's electric supply to regulation but not in the way utilities were traditionally regulated prior to the 1999 passage of the state' deregulation law. Dominion, instead, proposed a hybrid model that bases allowed earnings for Virginia utilities on the returns of a peer group of utilities in the U.S. Southeast, allows special rate riders to cover certain expenses and provides extra profit for utilites that construct new power plants or improve old ones.

Dominion, which serves 80 percent of Virginians, has plans for a new coal-burning plant in the works in Southwest Virginia and a new nuclear reactor at its North Anna Power Station in Louisa County.

For details, see tomorrow's Times-Dispatch.

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