SEIA says Dominion Vitality charge case would undermine South Carolina’s Vitality Freedom Act

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On December 15, Dominion filed a tariff case, according to SEIA, ignoring the intent of the Energy Freedom Act of 2019 in South Carolina.

The law requires state utility companies to submit grid metering succession plans that avoid cost shifts and offer solar customers long-term stability. Dominion’s filing would add grid access fees, monthly subscription costs for solar customers, and a low export rate for net metering customers that would unnecessarily increase solar costs and depreciate that investment.

The following is a statement from Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs at SEIA, on Dominion’s actions:

“Dominion’s filing would wipe out the rooftop solar market in its South Carolina service area and impose tremendous fees on solar customers. The Energy Freedom Act of 2019 was enacted to protect customer choice and add stability to the growing rooftop solar market. Dominion’s actions are criminal and would undermine the intent of the law if approved by the Commission. The proposed fees are so high that they would stifle the local solar market and destroy well-paying jobs that are fueling economic development during the pandemic.

“Instead of following Duke’s lead and engaging with stakeholders, Dominion made decisions behind closed doors, which led to yet another attempt to maintain monopoly power and prolong the clean energy transition.”

“The bipartisan Energy Freedom Act was intended to help preserve solar jobs in South Carolina and protect customer access to solar as an alternative to their monopoly utility. Dominion has now proposed a laundry list of new solar-only fees that threaten to close that election, ”said Thad Culley, senior regional director, 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 utility bills.”

“We expected Dominion to release a terrible plan, but it’s so much worse than we imagined,” said Kate Lee Mixson, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “This will keep customers tied to Dominion’s rising rates and deprive customers of an affordable option to better control their utility bills and family budgets.”

Message from SEIA. Updated with statements from Vote Solar and Southern Environmental Law Center at 1:41 p.m. ET.

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