Letter to the Editor: Richmond Times-Dispatch, published November 4, 2018 –
Dominion is desperate to get the Atlantic Coast Pipeline built before the facts catch up with it.
Dominion CEO Tom Farrell is trying to hide the ball when it comes to the ACP. His Op-Ed column, “Powering Virginia’s future with clean, affordable, and reliable energy,” leaves out the most important part of the story — that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission allows Dominion shareholders to recover their investment in full and collect a guaranteed 15 percent return on the pipeline, while shouldering none of the risk. That risk falls on the backs of Dominion’s utility customers, who will pay billions in project costs in their power bills.
Farrell has a lot on the line. He has to make sure landowners, local governments, property rights advocates, communities, conservationists, and climate change opponents don’t get in the way of his shareholders’ profits. So he’ll say anything he needs to publicly. But what his company tells federal and state agencies is the real story.
The demand for new gas-fired power plants isn’t growing in Virginia. But year after year, Dominion submits plans to the Virginia State Corporation Commission that depict aggressive demand growth to justify new infrastructure. And each year, the actual power needs of Virginia fall far short of the company’s predictions. This September, the SCC staff finally said it has “no confidence” in Dominion’s story. We don’t need the ACP.
Dominion customers are going to pay for the ACP. At that same September hearing, an expert testified that the pipeline would increase customer costs by as much as $3 billion. Dominion had no response or rebuttal.
The ACP has never been about what is best for Virginia, it’s about Farrell getting that 15 percent return for his shareholders.
Southern Environmental Law Center