Executive director says: “Without Amazon, there would be no extension cord. Why is Dominion dodging?”
Haymarket, Virginia (June 13, 2016) – Dominion Virginia Power (Dominion) rebuttal witnesses tried to downplay the importance of Amazon, argued for rate-payers to subsidize an overhead extension cord, and dismissed concerns over damage to property values, State Corporation Commission (SCC) filings show.
Coalition executive director Elena Schlossberg stated, “Since the beginning, Dominion has said the Haymarket project is about one customer. In July 2015, Dominion spokesperson Greg Mathe told local media, ‘The need is for the expansion of a high-tech sector business,’ – not residents, not even businesses, but a business – which the Washington Post later identified is Amazon subsidiary Vadata.”
Schlossberg added, “Another Dominion spokesperson, Chuck Penn, actually tried to make single-customer reliance into a joke, quipping, ‘It could be one customer, it could be 10,000 customers.’ And Dominion’s SCC filings mention the Customer dozens of times, along with a single large block load. Single. Their own application documents and expert testimony always led with the need, ‘to provide service requested by a retail electric service customer.’ A customer. That kind of consistency is not an accident.”
“But now,” Schlossberg continued, “Dominion wants to ‘unring’ that bell and dodge their own words. Sure, Dominion worries that SCC staff have suggested that what amounts to a private extension cord should be buried in the ground and paid for by the private customer, not buried in Dominion’s costs and paid for by rate-payers and property owners. Dominion’s rebuttal witnesses (their own employees), took pains to downplay the single customer, single load theme – some despite their own prior testimony. And this is on the heels of Dominion’s startling admission that their customer knew 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.”
“The SCC staff is not the only party giving Dominion headaches and standing in the way of Amazon’s overhead extension cord. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) reaffirmed their support for the partially-buried hybrid option, while the Department of Historical Resources confirmed their support as well,” Schlossberg said. “And local property rights advocates and HOAs have noted Dominion’s responses to concerns over property value destruction amounted to ‘Could be as low as 2%, could be 12%, could be worse, we really don’t know.’ I suppose not knowing and not caring run together.”
Schlossberg concluded, “Dominion is dancing. Not because they want to dance, or because they are good at it. Dominion is dancing because they are smart enough to realize the thin ice they are on is cracking.”
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