Del. Toscano among signers of letter seeking SCC analysis of “rate freeze repeal” bills filed in the House of Delegates
RICHMOND, VA — House Democratic Leader David Toscano (57th District) and five of his colleagues – Delegates Steve Landes (R-25th), Jeion Ward (D-92nd ), Lee Ware (R-65th), Mark Keam (D-35th), and Michael Webert (R-18th) – delivered a letter Tuesday to SCC Chairman Jagdmann requesting an agency review and report on several bills submitted to “undo the ‘rate freeze’ adopted by the legislature in 2015, and to substitute a new regimen for utility rate regulation” as soon as possible. The legislators specifically asked for information about how the various bills would provide for returning “overearnings” to ratepayers, as well as the implications that the bills would have on setting base rates and approving rate adjustments.
We need to ensure that the bills we pass provide for utilities’ overearnings during the rate freeze period to be returned to the ratepayers,” said Toscano. “That is why this bipartisan group has called on the experts at the State Corporation Commission to provide us with analyses of these bills and hold themselves ready to answer questions from the legislature.”
The “rate freeze” was created in 2015, when the General Assembly passed a bill that froze utility rates and provided for significant investment in weatherization projects around the state. This was done to protect ratepayers against the potential impacts of the Clean Power Plan, which has since been killed by President Trump and congressional Republicans.
“These proposals involve millions of dollars,” said Toscano, “as well as affecting how we will be encouraging development and use of renewable energy in the future. We will be pushing the utilities hard on these issues.”