RICHMOND – A settlement unveiled Thursday involving Dominion Power and the Virginia Attorney General’s Office could save the average electricity customer about $80 a month.
Pending approval from the State Corporation Commission, the deal would nullify a temporary rate hike effected last September and require Dominion to hand over about $400 million dollars in 2008 profits.
The company estimates the typical user will see a $24 one-time credit and recoup about $56 in lower payments through December 2010.
“It’s justice for us,” declared Dominion customer Tommy Snead. “I feel like I’ve been getting ripped off for a while by [Dominion], and now I’m getting 80 bucks back? Okay, I”ll take it.”
Dominion is a regulated monopoly, which means its rates and profits ultimately fall under the purview of the state.
Company spokesperson David Botkins told CBS 6 its base rates are evaluated on a biannual basis, with this recent round falling under standard state procedure.
Botkins wasn’t sure, however, why the company would be docked hundreds of millions in profits.
A statement from Attorney General Bill Mims partially addressed that question.
Mims noted, “in these difficult economic times, we believe that the interests of Virginia’s consumers are best served by the return of their hard-earned dollars, and avoidance of rate adjustment increases now.”
The utility company requested a nearly 7 percent increase in March.
With the interim hike from last fall removed, Dominion estimates the average customer will see a bill that’s roughly five dollars cheaper, from $108 down to $103.
Gretchen Comba, a Dominion customer, is trying to take it all in stride.
“I think it’s a matter of fluctuation,” observed Comba. “I think it has to do with the political process, on down to the social process, that we have a give-and-take here.”
The S.C.C. has not yet set a date for hearing the settlement. There is no deadline for the body to do so.
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