Dominion's Smart Meter Plan Hits Dead End
- May 4, 2020 4:57 pm GMT
Virginia regulators delivered a tough blow to Dominion’s smart meter plan last week. If you remember, this isn't the first time the utility’s smart meter proposal has been rejected. Back in March, the officials tasked with reviewing Dominion’s grid modernization package concluded that the utility failed to justify that the new meters, which would have cost over $750 million, would provide real value without a corresponding proposal for TOU ratesetter. Dominion responded confidently, assuring spectators that the bid would eventually go through and insinuating that the regulators had made a mistake.
However, this new decision, communicated through the State Corporation Commission’s April 27th order, puts to rest any doubt surrounding their original conclusion. The agency’s commissioner explained their thinking on the matter to the Virgina Mercury, saying:
“The commission weighed the various (and at times conflicting) evidence and arguments and, in exercising its discretion, found that the potential benefits were too speculative and uncertain for the commission to choose to approve such a large expenditure at this time, the large costs of which impact Dominion’s customers,”
“Contrary to Dominion’s claims,” the commissioners added, “this is not error; it is the commission reaching a different conclusion than the company on a matter that the General Assembly delegated to the commission.”
Although there’s a sense of finality to this little conflict between Dominion and the regulators, I’d still put money on Virgina getting smart meters in the next five years. The state’s firm refusal will force the utility to reevaluate their plan and overcorrect where they went wrong. At least that’s what I hope.
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