Effort to reinstate electric bill refunds in Va. fails

Dominion Energy is investing $1 billion in its solar fleet in Virginia and North Carolina, and now ranks among utilities with the largest solar portfolios. (AP File Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia Senate panel has rejected a bill that would allow state regulators to order refunds to customers of the state’s two largest electric utilities.

The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee voted Monday to kill a bill by Democratic Sen. Chap Petersen that would essentially repeal a 2015 law that temporarily barred state regulators from adjusting certain rates of electric monopolies, even if they made excessive profits.

The law has allowed both Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power to hold on to profits they otherwise would have had to return, including $130 million in refunds Dominion’s customers would be due on bills paid in 2015 and 2016.

Sens. Frank Wagner and Dick Saslaw, both strong allies of Dominion, plan on introducing legislation aimed at overhauling utility regulation later this week.

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