Supreme Court decision favors renewable energy shopping - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Efficiency, Regulation, Sourcing Renewables  -  March 30, 2018

Va. Supreme Court decision favors renewable energy shopping

The Virginia Supreme Court on Mar. 29 upheld a decision by state regulators that large electricity users seeking all-renewable power can shop for it without regard for a requirement that they give five years’ notice if they want to return to utility service, rejecting an appeal by Dominion Energy.

According to a report in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the decision stemmed from a case brought at the State Corporation Commission by Direct Energy Services, a retail provider of electricity. As a licensed service provider in Virginia, the company seeks to sign up commercial and residential utility customers for a 100% RE product that it says can compete favorably with Dominion’s prices.

"We’re very excited for our customers and the fact that the State Corporation Commission twice and the Supreme Court today made clear that it’s time for Dominion to cease its efforts to really unilaterally impose barriers on its residential and retail customers," said Ron Cerniglia, director of corporate and regulatory affairs for Direct Energy Services. He added that the decision also eliminates regulatory uncertainty that was chilling competition and "will give us the impetus to move forward in Virginia, particularly in the commercial and industrial market."

Dominion Energy spokesman David Botkins said the company is reviewing the order. "It should be noted that as the sixth-leading solar energy producer in the country, Dominion Energy already offers renewable options for customers and has plans to increase our portfolio of renewable energy," Botkins said.

Currently, neither of Virginia’s large utilities, Dominion and Appalachian Power, have an approved 100 percent renewable energy tariff, though Dominion has an application pending before the commission.

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