Southeast Energy News

Virginia governor steps into controversial Dominion Energy rate freeze

VIRGINIA POLITICS: A Virginia state House panel advances a bill to overhaul how electric rates are set, which regulators say could leave customers paying double for large-scale upgrades to the electric grid. Gov. Ralph Northam takes a direct hand in brokering a deal to restore his state’s ability to regulate consumers’ electricity bills. (Associated Press, Washington Post)

MORE:
• The Sierra Club says a bill that overhauls the way that monopoly utilities are regulated in Virginia by reducing rather than increasing accountability would hurt Virginians, among other criticism that the bill kneecaps state regulators. (Augusta Free Press, Richmond Times Dispatch)
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Virginia’s attorney general takes a softer approach on the Dominion Energy rate bill being considered by state lawmakers. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY:
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The Tennessee Valley Authority shifts more of the cost of its electricity to residential customers by keeping rates relatively stable while giving businesses rate reductions of 20 percent or more over the past six years. (Times Free Press)
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A former Tennessee Valley Authority chairman says shifting industrial customers expenses onto residential customers breaks with the TVA’s charter. (Knoxville News Sentinel)

SUBSIDIES: Regional grid operator PJM wants to change how it sets energy and capacity prices, effectively subsiding coal and nuclear plants. (Energy News Network)

NUCLEAR:
• The South Carolina House plans to stop SCE&G from charging customers for the now-failed Summer nuclear project until a state commission weighs in. (The State)
• Georgia Power is rolling back a monthly fee for its Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion, days before the Georgia Public Service Commission holds a hearing on its decision in December to allow those projects to proceed. (Augusta Chronicle)

EFFICIENCY: U.S. cities most affected by climate change, including Miami and Atlanta, are also the least energy efficient, according to data from a clean energy company. (Reuters)

SOLAR: Duke Energy utilities adds 451 MW of solar capacity to the North Carolina grid in 2017, which is less than the previous year but still a significant amount of new solar power. (Charlotte Business Journal)

PIPELINES:
• A federal judge rejects environmental groups’ request to temporarily halt the construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline through a river swamp in south Louisiana. (Associated Press)
• A coalition of crawfishers and environmental groups take legal steps to immediately shut down the Bayou Bridge project, which began construction less than a week ago. (Desmog)
• Conservation groups file a legal challenge contesting FERC’s decision to approve the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, saying the agency didn’t adequately determine the true need for the project. (Associated Press)

COAL ASH:
• North Carolina residents end a lawsuit against Duke Energy, after the utility clarifies a requirement for residents to waive future health claims linked to coal ash contaminated well water. (WLOS)
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An environmental group says the Tennessee Valley Authority is delaying the release of tests results from Memphis drinking water near a coal ash pit. (Memphis Flyer)

COAL:
• The Associated Press and Newsweek fact check President Trump’s state of the union address claim that he ended the war on coal.
• A newly released report from the Sierra Club says coal-fired power plants in Arkansas are polluting the air in Tennessee. (Memphis Flyer)

COMMENTARY:
• The impact of President Trump’s tariff on imported solar parts may be less serious than many initially feared. (TC Palm)
• The Louisiana Public Service Commission is eviscerating net metering by moving all exported electricity to avoided cost instead of retail rates. (pv magazine)
• Kentucky lawmakers consider a bill that targets rooftop solar companies and customers and would cripple the growing solar industry. (Lexington Herald Leader)

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