Dominion Must Move Customers To Competitors

by Steve Haner

The State Corporation Commission Wednesday granted motions by two competitive service providers and ordered Dominion Energy Virginia to hand over various customers.  The two companies, Direct Energy Business LLC and Calpine Energy Solutions LLC, offer a 100 percent renewable energy option in the monopoly utility’s territory.

“The Commission has found that: (a) absent the instant order, Direct Energy and Calpine will suffer irreparable harm; (b) Direct Energy and Calpine have no adequate remedy at law; and (c) the Commission is satisfied of Direct Energy’s and Calpine’s equity,” reads a footnote in the order (here).

As previously reported on Bacon’s Rebellion, the utility filed its own motion with the SCC first, seeking a ruling on whether the companies complied with Virginia law. It then behaved as if it had prevailed on that motion and stopped transferring over any customers they had recruited. The companies immediately asked the SCC to reverse Dominion’s action, which was hurting both their finances and their reputations.

Those motions were granted in today’s opinion, but the underlying dispute continues.  The SCC listened all day Tuesday to testimony and argument on the issue, and having explored much of it before, Bacon’s Rebellion will await the final outcome for a more detailed report.

The customers in question are mainly larger users, and the dispute has been officially joined by Costco Wholesale, the Kroger Company and an association of renewable energy buyers.  One or more proposals to expand retail choice are expected at the 2020 Virginia General Assembly.