Va. AG reviewing bonuses offered to electric companies

Jessica M. Karmasek Jul. 20, 2012, 11:45am


RICHMOND, Va. (Legal Newsline) - Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says his office is reviewing the "effectiveness" of bonuses offered to electric companies under a 2007 law if they undertake certain projects or meet certain goals specified in the law.

The Attorney General's Office is conducting the study as part of its responsibility to consult with the State Corporation Commission on a report regarding the Electric Utility Regulation Act.

Cuccinelli said Thursday that these revenue enhancements, also known as "adders," increase the return on equity that an electric utility is authorized by the State Corporation Commission to receive.

The attorney general said he wanted to review the impact of state laws on utility rates and whether the adders' benefits to customers outweigh the costs -- now that five years of data is available.

"As the price for electricity has increased, citizens across Virginia have asked why," Cuccinelli said in a statement. "While a large portion of the increases Virginians have felt over the last several years are directly attributable to federal regulations, it is important for us to review the impact of Virginia's laws -- which we can control -- on the cost for electricity.

"We have to do this so we can assure Virginia homeowners and businesses that the prices they pay for electricity are no more than what is reasonably necessary."

According to Cuccinelli's office, the review will seek input from various sources, including lawmakers, citizens, environmental groups, industrial customers and the electric utility companies.

"The goal is not to reach some predetermined result, but, rather, to have a thorough review of what the goals were of having the adders in the first place, what has actually happened as a result of the adders, and what they have cost in terms of higher electricity prices," the attorney general said.

Cuccinelli said the information will most likely be collected by the end of the summer, with his office issuing a report in the fall.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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