On February 9, 2018, the Virginia Senate passed a bill radically restructuring how Virginia regulates monopoly utilities (Dominion and other minor players), allowing utilities to use excess earnings from over-charges paid by customers to build new electric infrastructure. Then, by incorporating building costs into the company’s rate base for which customers are charged annually, utilities could “double dip” by billing customers twice for these capital projects. (see Virginia Senate Allows Dominion to Regulate Itself)
But on February 12 the House advanced the final bill with a floor amendment that would prevent the utility from recovering the costs of the spending from base rates, which make up the biggest portion of customers’ bills. To the surprise and shock of the unamended bill’s supporters and of Dominion lobbyists, the amended bill passed the House, 55-41 with two abstentions, with six House Republicans joining all 49 Democrats to place a serious check on Dominion’s power mere days after their colleagues in the Senate decided to give them a blank check.