Press Release: Amazon Knew Haymarket Site Unsuitable, Dominion Power Admits

Executive director says: “Dominion knows Amazon seeks a subsidized extension cord – and so does the SCC.”

Haymarket, Virginia (June 6, 2016) – Amazon knew the Haymarket data center site was unsuitable and lacked sufficient infrastructure, new Dominion Virginia Power testimony reveals. And the State Corporation Commission (SCC) staff report released last Thursday shows they are onto the Dominion-Amazon dance.

Coalition executive director Elena Schlossberg stated, “Our questioning led to a startling admission by Dominion. Their customer, Amazon, knew from the beginning that the Haymarket site – in Dominion’s words – ‘did not qualify because it did not meet the criteria’ for Dominion’s own pre-certification process.”

“Dominion is even distancing itself from Amazon, stating, on the record, [Amazon] ‘chose the location without seeking input from Dominion Virginia Power’,” Schlossberg added. “And the SCC staff report shows that, like the Coalition, they are fully aware of Amazon’s intentions.”

These developments are the latest in a string of victories the Coalition and allies have achieved in the legal and regulatory process. For over a year, Dominion has conceded that the Haymarket transmission line is for a single customer – and that without this customer, the project would not be pursued.

“Let me make three key points,” Schlossberg said. “First, Dominion admits their customer knew the site was unsuitable. Amazon can’t say they didn’t know. Second, Dominion and the State Corporation Commission (SCC) agree that without Amazon, ‘there would be no need for the Project.’ Amazon can’t say they’re not responsible. Third, the SCC is suggesting Amazon should pay a significant portion of what amounts to a private extension cord. Amazon, you won’t be subsidized by rate-payer dollars and residents’ property values.”

“The Coalition’s argument has always been that Amazon should be treated like any other private customer. Just like a homeowner who builds far away from suitable infrastructure, Amazon should pay for what everyone admits is a private benefit,” Schlossberg continued. “And like a homeowner, what they build should not hurt other people’s property. It appears the SCC staff understands – and embraces – this argument.”

Schlossberg concluded, “Since the beginning, the Coalition and our allies have called out Amazon for laying low, secretly seeking to play by different rules, and receive special treatment. These latest revelations show that from the start, Amazon has sought a rate-payer subsidy and a free pass to punish property values with its overhead extension cord. I can understand why Dominion does not want to shield them – and why the SCC staff is echoing our concerns, asking blunt questions, and taking a hard, objective stance.”

“This is a smoking gun – and the smoke goes all the way from Richmond to Seattle,” Schlossberg added.

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One Reply to “Press Release: Amazon Knew Haymarket Site Unsuitable, Dominion Power Admits”

  1. The challenge for capitalism is that the things that breed trust also breed the environment for fraud. And Amazon happens to be the best example.

    Amazon maybe the ecommerce giant with wide-ranging investment interests but as far as its social responsibilities are concerned it appears too inconsiderate and insensitive. Amazon is not willing to comply with the legal directives issued by Virginia’s Corporation Commission Staff. According to which Dominion’s proposed power line to Haymarket is for a single customer – Amazon Data Center – and it is this customer who is liable to pay for the line extension, and that placing the 230 KV extension partially underground is the least damaging for the environment and for the residents who live within this area.

    Based on the evaluations of SCC Staff, Dominion Power was unable to justify the need for the project without the Customers request for service to the Haymarket Project. The Staff also emphasized on the fact that the line extension may be viewed as an extension of electrical service to a new customer, therefore, may be subject to cost allocations. According to SCC Staff report, Amazon may have to pay the excess cost, estimated at $115 million.

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