On Thursday, the State Corporation Commission issued two decisions that will impact the availability of 100% renewable electric energy in Dominion’s service territory.
In Case No. PUR-2019-00094, the Commission approved Dominion’s 100% renewable tariff, Rider TRG. Under Rider TRG, customers with a peak demand of less than 5MW in the most recent 12-month billing period are eligible to purchase 100% renewable electric energy from Dominion at a premium of $3.98 per month above the standard rate for an average residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, subject to annual adjustments.
Pursuant to Va. Code § 56-577 A 5 (“Section A 5”), eligible customers will no longer be able to purchase 100% renewable energy from competitive suppliers. The Commission rejected suppliers’ argument that it was against the public interest to approve a tariff that, by operation of law, precludes customers from realizing potential savings by purchasing renewable energy from suppliers as compared to Dominion’s standard price for brown power. The Commission did, however, rule that customers with peak demands at or above 5 MW remain eligible to purchase 100 percent renewable electric energy from a competitive supplier pursuant to Section A 5.
The Commission also refused to adopt a sunset provision that would cause Rider TRG to sunset after six months of approval if Dominion failed to enroll a certain amount of load, agreeing with Dominion that “the Commission retains authority to modify or amend Rider TRG at any time in the future and will have ample authority to address any concerns regarding participant levels during the annual update proceedings.” Pursuant to Ordering Paragraph 2, Dominion must file an approved tariff within 30 days of July 2nd.
Finally, a supplier had filed a motion requesting that the Commission, if it were to approve the tariff, direct Dominion to file an approved tariff far enough out in advance to allow Dominion to enroll suppliers’ customers who had signed contracts with the supplier but were not yet switched to the supplier’s supply service. The Commission denied the motion.
Case No. PUR-2020-00044 also involved the issue of the time between when a customer signs a contract for 100% renewable electric energy with a competitive supplier and the time that the customer is actually “on flow” with the supplier. The Commission agreed with the Hearing Examiner that the “customer must have already enrolled in or switched to the CSP’s electric supply service at the time Dominion files an approved 100% renewable energy tariff with the Commission in order to take such service from the CSP after Dominion’s tariff becomes effective.”
While that issue was the “Threshold Issue” in Case No. PUR-2020-00044, competitive suppliers have alleged that Dominion is deliberately delaying the processing of enrollments to prevent customers from continuing to purchase 100% renewable electric energy from competitive suppliers when Rider TRG is filed, pursuant to Section A 5 b. The Commission has yet to consider the legality of Dominion’s 60-day notice requirement or its requirement that customers on a special rate return to standard offer service or “tariff hop” before they are permitted to shop for renewable electricity supply.
If you are interested in the details of these rulings, or have questions about utility rate regulation and renewable energy markets, please contact any of GreeneHurlocker’s energy lawyers.