Virginia Electric Rate Freeze Faces Legal Challenge

Jan 7, 2016

Credit Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A possible constitutional challenge is looming for a new law that suspends reviews of Dominion Virginia Power's rates for several years.

The Virginia Committee for Fair Utility Rates, a group consisting of large industrial customers of Dominion, filed papers with state regulators last month indicating it plans to file an appeal with the Virginia Supreme Court over questions of whether the law violates the Virginia Constitution.

Last year, Dominion helped usher into law a major revision of how Virginia regulates electric utilities. The measure effectively freezes the company's base rates, which make up the majority of a customer's bill, until at least 2023.

Dominion says the law is constitutional and protects customers. Critics say it could net the electric monopoly more than $1 billion in excessive profits.