On December 15, Dominion filed a rate case that ignores the intent of the 2019 Energy Freedom Act in South Carolina, according to SEIA.
The act requires the state’s utilities to file net-metering successor plans that avoid cost shifts and provide long-term stability for solar customers. Dominion’s filing would add grid access charges, a monthly subscription cost for solar customers, and a low export rate for net metering customers that would unnecessarily inflate solar costs and devalue these investments.
Following is a statement from Sean Gallagher, VP of state affairs at SEIA, on Dominion’s actions:
“Dominion’s filing would wipe out the rooftop solar market in its South Carolina service territory, imposing egregious charges on solar customers. The 2019 Energy Freedom Act was enacted to protect customer choice and add stability for the growing rooftop solar market. Dominion’s actions are punitive and would undermine the intent of the law if approved by the Commission. The proposed charges are so high that they would stifle the local solar market, killing good-paying jobs that are driving economic development during the pandemic.
“Rather than follow Duke’s example and conduct discussions with stakeholders, Dominion made decisions behind closed doors, resulting in another attempt to retain monopoly power and prolong the transition to clean energy.”
“The intent of the bi-partisan Energy Freedom Act was to help keep solar jobs in South Carolina and to protect customer’s access to solar as an alternative to their monopoly utility. Dominion has now proposed a laundry list of new fees that apply only to solar customers and threaten to close off this choice,” said Thad Culley, senior regional director of Vote Solar. “We will defend the intent of the law and fight to save solar jobs and opportunities for customers to take control of their electric bills.”
“We expected Dominion to release a terrible plan, but this is so much worse than we imagined,” said Kate Lee Mixson, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “Its effect will be to keep customers tethered to Dominion’s rising rates and to take away an affordable option for customers to better control their power bills and their family budgets.”
News item from SEIA. Updated with Vote Solar and Southern Environmental Law Center statements at 1:41 p.m. ET.