The Cooch is back. Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli penned an op-ed for the Wilmington, North Carolina based Star News opposing Duke Energy’s proposed changes to electrical regulation. The title of the opinion piece is, “N.C. should block this Duke Energy power grab”. Cuccinelli’s biggest issue with the pending regulation is extending the period of time between utility rate cases. The editorial board of the Star News agrees. Cuccinelli writes:
“Key provisions to extend the period of time between utility company rate cases are embedded within N.C. Senate Bill 559, being debated at the N.C. General Assembly. Similar provisions hurt Virginia customers, and will hurt North Carolina customers, too.”
Transparency, true accounting and true ups. Cuccinelli maintains that multi-year rates can work. However, he cites three criteria required to make such a scheme fair to ratepayers:
“Multi-year rates can work, but Duke’s proposed model is flawed. If it could be amended to ensure that the utility operates with transparency, a full accounting of their spending, and a 100 percent “true-up” of over-earning for all years between rate reviews, then it’s possible the concept could work. The Virginia model and North Carolina’s SB 559 fail on all three counts.”
Mr. Cuccinelli maintains that Dominion’s “windfall profits” under Virginia’s flawed multi-year rate setting approach has Dominion on track to collect $1 billion in over-earnings between 2015 when the legislation was passed and the end of this year.
Storm damage refinancing. Cooch likes one aspect of the new bill — storm securitization. This would allow Duke to refinance debt to pay for work recovering from storms at a lower rate. This would save ratepayers money. However, even though he applauds this aspect of the bill he has questions about Duke’s motivations. He writes, “But Duke is using securitization as a human shield for multi-year rates. They’re using a good legislative idea to sneak through huge windfall profits with the provisions that lock in its over-earning with multi-year rates.”
The future for the Coocher. I follow Ken Cuccinelli on Facebook and make it a point to read all the articles he writes or posts. Maybe it’s just me but he seems to have taken a decided turn toward the center. He has also developed a strong populist tone on many issues, including this electricity regulation matter. His name has been rumored to be under consideration for a high ranking post in the Trump Administration. Could Cooch be eyeing a return to politics?
Commentary – time for revenge in November. Our former Attorney General is holding out the General Assembly as capitulating to Dominion’s interests at the expense of Virginia ratepayers. His claim of $1 billion in over-earnings across 5 years is stunning. While those of us at Bacon’s Rebellion have long known about the hanky-panky between the General Assembly and Dominion, most Virginians were either unaware or didn’t care. That seems to be changing. Ahead of the 2017 Virginia elections 60 candidates signed a pledge to accept no money from Dominion. Thirteen of these candidates won. As we head into the House and Senate elections later this year the question of Dominion money should be very high on the list of voters’ concerns. I believe that any incumbent who refuses to take that pledge should be voted out of office. If they are running unopposed cast a write-in vote for “Virginia B. Cleanedup.”
— Don RippertThere are currently no comments highlighted.