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Connecting health outcomes to climate solutions and lower utility bills, Engagement Center finding success near Boston's troubled 'Mass and Cass' and more protections coming for PA Children's Service providers.

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A water war in Southwest Utah has ranchers and Native tribes concerned, federal solar subsidies could help communities transition to renewable energy, and Starbucks workers attempt to unionize.

Virginia Customers Could See Dominion Energy Rate Hikes

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Thursday, May 12, 2022   

Dominion Energy is proposing a rate hike, which would push up utility costs for Virginia's homes and businesses. The company has submitted several proposals to the state which they say will help offset the rising cost of fuel.

Walton Shepherd, climate and clean energy program Virginia policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the plans will not address Dominion's underlying problem, which stems from years of investment in gas plants and fossil-fuel infrastructure.

"There are a lot of resources that have zero fuel costs, such as solar, wind, battery storage that we could have been investing in," Shepherd asserted.

Dominion has proposed hiking rates over a one-, two- or three-year period. The company has indicated it would prefer the three-year path, which would carry the lowest monthly increase for ratepayers. Shepherd said if state regulators approve separate rate revisions, the three-year path could increase energy bills by about $11 per month for a home using 1,100 kilowatt-hours per month.

According to Dominion, with rate revisions included, energy costs for an average home would increase by about 7%. But Shepherd countered it would add to some of the highest energy bills in the South, from Virginia all the way over to Texas.

"Federal data released just last fall shows we pay the highest rates of all those southern states except for South Carolina and Alabama," Shepherd pointed out.

Dominion argued it has been steadily diversifying into clean energy, and the Associated Press reports natural gas makes up a little less than half of the company's total energy mix.

Dominion's proposed rate hike would go into effect July 1 if approved by state regulators.


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