(1) SCC rejects majority of Dominion Grid Transformation Plan proposal – Case No. PUR-2018-00100
On January 16, the SCC entered a final order on Dominion’s Grid Transformation Plan filing. The Commission rejected the majority of Dominion’s proposed $3 billion plan, finding that Dominion had not proven these investments to be reasonable and prudent. The SCC, for example, held that Dominion’s proposed spending in the following areas was imprudent: (1) AMI deployment, (2) grid hardening, and (3) investments intended to support emerging technologies and facilitate the integration of distributed energy resources. The SCC agreed with environmental and ratepayer advocates that Dominion had not established that the benefits of this spending would outweigh the costs. The Commission, however, did approve about $900 million in spending related to cyber and physical security investments. It is not yet clear how or when the approved costs will be recovered from ratepayers; the statute permits utilities to recover grid transformation investment costs in several ways.
On January 16, Dominion filed the direct testimony of two witnesses asking the SCC to prohibit two customers – Kroger and Harris Teeter – from combining the demand from multiple store accounts in order to purchase generation from a non-utility company. Dominion claims that allowing these customers to shop will harm shareholders and result in fixed costs being shifted to other customer classes. Kroger and Harris Teeter have argued that their request to shop would have a de minimis impact on Dominion’s revenues and total peak load. The companies claim that their request is “in the public interest” because shopping will enable them to reduce their energy costs and better manage energy usage. The companies also argue that shopping customers, by reducing Dominion’s peak load, help to mitigate the need for Dominion to build new gas “peaking” resources. (For background: Virginia law allows customers, in certain circumstances, to combine the demands of multiple accounts in order to reach the statutory demand threshold of 5 megawatts required for shopping. The SCC must find such requests to be “consistent with the public interest.” Shopping customers purchase the generation component of electricity from a competitive supplier, but continue to purchase distribution services from their incumbent utility.)
(3) Procedural schedule set for WGL request to extend and amend conservation and efficiency programs – Case No. PUR-2018-00193
Washington Gas Light (“WGL”) has requested SCC approval to extend and amend its SCC-approved conservation and ratemaking efficiency plan (“CARE Plan”). WGL has proposed to extend several existing programs and add new programs, including weatherization assistance for low-income customers. The proposed CARE plan has three-year budget of $8.5 million. The proposed plan would result in a $4.12 monthly charge for a typical residential customer. The SCC has set a procedural schedule for this case. March 12 is the deadline for parties to intervene in the case and request an evidentiary hearing. Any interested party may also file comments on the application on or before March 12.