LETTER — Dominion should focus on its core business

Published 6:00 am Friday, February 26, 2021

To the Editor:

As a Dominion Energy customer, I am frustrated by what I see happening with our monopoly utility.

This was brought into particular focus this past weekend by the infrequent yet very predictable ice storm that struck a large swath of Dominion’s territory. Just like an occasional hurricane, we know weather events like this will happen. If we know this, why then is it that the reaction on the part of Dominion always appears reactive instead of proactive?

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We have all watched Dominion spend hundreds of millions of its customers’ dollars on its new skyscraping headquarters, and now witness the spending of billions upon billions of its customers’ dollars on windmills, solar panels and radiation-emitting smart meters, all of which the Virginia State Corporation Commission has stated are “imprudent investments for the company’s monopoly utility customers.” The State Corporation Commission has also said that the cost of these projects cannot be passed on to the customers. So, who then is paying the bill?

Now, through a simple weather event we can witness firsthand that Dominion has lost its way. The core business for which Dominion is given preferred monopoly status is to provide reliable and affordable power to its customers. We don’t need to subsidize solar for Amazon or subsidize offshore windmills when those built onshore do not make economic sense. We don’t need to subsidize sweetheart deals with Warren Buffet to give away assets monopoly status has allowed Dominion to accumulate. We don’t need smart radiation meters that cost more than $500 per customer so we can be charged more for electricity when we need electricity. What we do need and what is lacking here is common sense. The ice storm just showed us this money would be much better spent building a more robust infrastructure, replacing rotten poles and trimming problematic trees now and then instead of subsidizing sweetheart deals that benefit Dominion to the detriment of its customers.

Dominion needs to learn a lesson here and refocus on its core business. As we say around here, don’t leave the lady that brought you to the dance. If Dominion does not learn this lesson, it needs to lose its monopoly protection and status immediately. Further, the State Corporation Commission needs to step in here and be sure that the cost of these projects Dominion engages in that are not directly related to economic generation and distribution of electricity to its customers are not now and will not ever be paid for by the customers. In other words, if Dominion’s investors want to pay for solar panels, windmills and smart radiation meters, that is fine. Just be sure to take the cost out of their investors, and their dividends and be sure as promised that the cost of unneeded and unwanted projects Dominion decides to pursue will never ever be paid for by their customers.

As a customer, I simply would like my bill to stay affordable, and the power to stay on the next time the wind blows or the ice falls. The rest is pure folly.

Enough is enough. If Dominion cannot do what it is tasked to do, bust it up, sell it off and let the market find someone who can properly and efficiently serve its customers.

John Janson

South Hill