Virginia explained: What’s a triennial review and why should you care?

Virginia explained: What’s a triennial review and why should you care?
The State Corporation Commission regulates Virginia electric utilities. (Source: Ned Oliver, Virginia Mercury)

For the first time in six years, Virginia’s largest utility, which serves two-thirds of Virginia’s residential customers, will submit to a review of its base rates. Dominion Energy’s “triennial review,” coming after years of regulators reporting hundreds of millions of dollars in company overearnings, will likely be the powerful utility’s biggest battle of the year.

The outcome will determine whether the base rates it charges have been reasonable, how much it’s earned over the past four years and what profits shareholders will be allowed to reap as the company embarks on an ambitious Democrat-driven mission to transform the foundation of Virginia’s electric grid from fossil fuels to renewables.

But instead of playing out in political skirmishes in the General Assembly, this contest will unfold before the State Corporation Commission, one of the most powerful and little-known of Virginia’s government bodies which since 1902 has had the authority under the state Constitution to regulate utilities.

The process is complicated, confusing even to those in the thick of it and rooted in accounting and technical minutiae. Here’s some questions you might have — and some answers to make sense of it all.

The Virginia Mercury is a new, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization covering Virginia government and policy.

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