Dominion’s Regulator and Coalition Agree; Powerline Need Unproven
Executive director says: “This is historic – SCC tells Dominion ‘try again’ with application.”
Haymarket, Virginia (December 6, 2017) – The State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) highest ranking officials took the historic step of sending Dominion Energy’s (Dominion) application for the Haymarket transmission line back the SCC Hearing Examiner.
Coalition executive director Elena Schlossberg stated, “This move by the SCC commissioners is virtually unprecedented – possibly the first time ever that Dominion has been told ‘try again’ by its most senior regulators.” The SCC ordered its Hearing Examiner to conduct additional proceedings to address arguments by the Coalition and Somerset Crossing that Dominion failed to prove the powerline’s need.
Schlossberg continued, “Coalition allies and citizens who have been engaged in this fight for years already know what the SCC commissioners may be starting to realize: Dominion’s proposal was deficient in proving the need for the powerline in the first place; Dominion’s story has shifted at various stages in this process; and Dominion’s attorneys found that story materially undercut by attorneys representing Dominion’s end-customer: Amazon.”
“We are in the middle of what I can only describe as a sea change,” Schlossberg added, “The SCC will be getting at least one and maybe two new commissioners in the new year; 13 new incoming members of the House of Delegates refused to take contributions from Dominion at all; and bills aimed at providing more transparency, which would have died in committee in recent years, are now getting public, bipartisan support. Dominion may be a utility monopoly – but its political monopoly is fading, fast.”
Schlossberg praised the community for staying the course. “I’ve said it before, and I will say it again – our community has always said there are two acceptable outcomes. One, since Amazon said on the record it’s not even sure it needs the extra power, the SCC should reject Dominion’s argument for the project’s need at all. Two, if they truly need the project, Amazon should pay for their own private extension cord like any other customer, and it should be buried along I-66. The arguments advanced by the Coalition and our allies won support from the SCC staff, and are finally being taken seriously by the SCC commissioners.” The Coalition’s refutation of Dominion’s need argument can be found here (www.protectpwc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Coalitions-Public-Reply-to-Dominions-Response-to-Motion-for-Rehearing-092217.pdf).
Schlossberg concluded, “This grassroots effort has pitted ordinary citizens with extraordinary tenacity against two massive corporations with blank checks and – literally – the richest man in the world. The Coalition and our allies have done more than anyone could have imagined, and forced Dominion to take steps and answer for its actions like never before. We have done that by partnering with a broad base of groups …. state and local elected officials, businesses, community organizations and HOAs. And countless individuals who have donated their time, talent, and – in some cases – treasure to keep Amazon’s private extension cord from being strung over their heads.”
“This fight is not over, and you will hear more from us in the coming days. But for now – if only for a moment – citizens and allies should be proud of what we have done together.”