Thursday, March 15, 2007

Progress On Dominion Re-Regulation Bill Veto

The Washington Post today reports on a number of Virginia organizations that have joined the Curmudgeon in calling on Governor Kaine to veto the hastily passed bill, practically written by Dominion Virginia Power, to re-regulate the electric utility industry in the state.

We're happy to be joined by the likes of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, Piedmont Environmental Council, the Virginia Citizens Consumer Council and AARP Virginia, among others.

Quote of the day: Republican Delegate Clarke Hogan, who helped draft the Dominion bill, says now is the time to act "versus having this deregulation train running down the tracks at us and having to do something drastic at the last minute."

Let's be clear: the current law doesn't lift regulation until 2010, so we have plenty of time to act. What is inexcusable, is how Dominion, with the legislature's cooperation, rammed this bill through with minimal discussion, i.e., "something drastic at the last minute." So Del. Hogan is correct: the bill should be vetoed to avoid drastic last minute legislation. Following a veto, Dominion and other interested parties can sit down and start working out a more considered bill for the next legislative session.


Anonymous said...

With all due respect to the bill and DVP, the bill had widespread bi-partisan support in both houses of the assembly. The Post doesn't give its readers this perception. In the House, the final version was voted in favor of by 35 of 56 Repubs and 38 of 40 Dems. In the Senate its final version passed by all 23 Repubs and 12 out of 17 Dems, including Nova Senators, Whipple, Saslaw, Colgan, Puller, Herring and Howell.

Also, an earlier version of the bill was first brought to committee either in 2004 or 2005, so "it" wasn't really rushed through the assembly as the Post & the PEC leads us to believe.

The one major flaw I see in this bill is that the cheapest, the cleanest, and the most readily available source of electricity in the state of Virginia - Energy Efficiency Conservation Measures - is weakly encouraged.

Enacting energy efficiency programs and conservation can put off expansion in generation and transmission by 2 to 5 years. In fact demand-side management, aka DSM or demand-response, is a mere 40 percent of what it used to be during its peak period in 1996. Studies by the PJM, DOE OE and FERC have already shown this. Another study by the state is not necessary, and DVP already knows how to implement a program, and only does so at the bare minimum, 1.6 percent.

If the bill allows DVP gain a 12 percent rate of return on the DSM program investments and would also be reimbursed 100 percent of the cost to implement it, then where's the harm in making DSM a mandatory law?

The bill does not force industry and corporate customers to conserve; but since it would ultimately take no money out off of its balance sheet, state utilities like DVP should be made to create the program and seek out volunteers to participate.

And it is believed these industry, corporate and government volunteers, aka non-residential customers, will shave off between at least 3 to 7 percent of demand during peak hours which would shed appx 575 MW to 1340 MW of load or more. Increases in these peak demand spikes are the primary drivers for new generation and transmission expansion.

The problem with DSM and energy efficiency and conservation is, the public simple doesn't see the benefits --- its boring and the the idea of conservation is a not-too-surprising of a concept, unlike wave, solar, wind, or biomass generation. Those things are neat but they aren't cheaper, cleaner, nor as readily available as efficiency and conservation measures.

Also, global warming naysayers should not think this is some far-left environmentalist motivated concept. In the great red state of Texas, their equivalent of the Va SCC just recommended to the TX state legislature, one of the highest standard of energy efficiency and conservation in the nation for its own state utilities. Our "Old Dominion" has ZERO.

Write Gov Kaine and ask him to make DSM and other energy efficient and conservation measures a MANDATORY part of Virginias Re-Regulation bill. His fax number is 804 371 6351.


PS - Thx for the good post and your previous Dom Re-reg article was excellent!

Anonymous said...

Also, check out the link below. With alternative generation and RPS in mind, its interesting how the boring concept of energy efficiency & conservation isn't put at the top of the list of answer to solve our energy problems of today.

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