Commercial, Sourcing Renewables - July 14, 2020
Walmart request for energy shopping in VA denied
A request by Walmart to shop for a cheaper mix of energy in Virginia was rejected by the Commonwealth’s Supreme Court last week, supporting Dominion Energy’s hold on the electric market in the area.
The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) also approved an all-renewable tariff by Dominion Energy, which will further limit the ability of commercial customers to competitively shop for their energy supply, Utility Dive reported. Retail provider Direct Energy told the publication that the decision and the new tariff will continue to limit the options customers have in regards to their energy supply.
"While we disagree, we respect the decision of the court and will move forward," Walmart Director of Energy Services Steve Chriss said in a statement about the decision. "We'll continue to look for opportunities to most effectively manage our energy needs in a way that supports our business."
Under current Virginia law, customers must buy electricity from their incumbent utility unless they have a demand greater than 5 MW or are purchasing a 100% renewable energy product that the utility does not offer. The SCC allows commercial customers to apply for permission to shop based on an aggregate of the demand of multiple facilities to meet that threshold, but regulators can approve or deny the request at their discretion.
This particular case was ruled out by the SCC due to their concerns that by allowing Walmart to aggregate and shop for about 90 MW of load otherwise supplied by Dominion and Appalachian Power, customer bills would have been raised by $0.13 and $0.05 each month, respectively.
Utility Dive also reported that a new pilot 200 MW program approved by the Virginia General Assembly could offer a way for Walmart to competitively shop for energy, but at the moment Virginia customers’ options are pretty limited.
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