Proposed regulations could cause power bill spike

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Could newly proposed environmental regulations clean up the air and clean out your wallet? There’s a growing debate on that right now across Virginia.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants power companies to cut carbon emissions, and some say the move could raise your power bill by as much as 30 percent.

The goal — reducing carbon emissions and making our air better to breathe — isn’t anything that most people necessarily disagree with. The debate starts when it could prevent people from being able to afford living in their homes, and that’s how the EPA is proposing to achieve their goal, according to opponents.

The mercury is rising in the General Assembly, as lawmakers say that if the newly proposed EPA regulations for power companies take effect, you’re in for a rate hike to the tune of possibly $400 per year.

Senator Kenny Alexander is one of a growing number of voices concerned about what happens if companies like Dominion Virginia Power do cut carbon emissions by 30 percent, meeting the EPA’s goal. He’s on the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee that met this week to hear all legislation that relates to power companies.

“I think that we need to dial back the rhetoric,” Alexander said. “We all want a clean environment. We all want clean water, clean soil, but we’ve got to get this right. I asked the question: who would bear the cost? And it was clearly stated that the cost will be transferred to the rate tiers, in essence, customers.”

He said the EPA is singling out one industry, one set of customers, and maybe the intention is good, but the execution needs work.

Dominion Virginia Power sent this statement on Thursday about the proposed regulations:

Virginia has been assigned a stricter (carbon reduction) goal than any of our neighboring states despite our long record of low carbon emissions due to our nuclear plants and diverse mix of clean, modern generation. If the EPA regulation takes effect as it currently is, it would lead to a significant increase in customer bills in future years.

In moving forward, Dominion is committed to continuing to focus on our core priorities of safe, reliable service at competitive rates while contributing substantially to Virginia’s economic growth. Our focus in complying with this or any environmental rule will be on minimizing the effect on customers while maximizing benefits for Virginia’s economy.

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