Hearings set on Dominion rate hike


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The N.C. Utilities Commission has scheduled three opportunities for area rate payers to weigh in on a requested 9-percent rate increase by Dominion North Carolina Power.

Dominion NC Power filed a request on March 29 to increase its rates. According to a Utilities Commission summary, if the request is approved, a "typical residential customer" — defined as a customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity — would see their monthly bill during the winter increase from about $108 to about $118, and their monthly summer bill increase from about $122 to about $134.

The proposed increase would be about 9 percent. Dominion is also proposing that it be allowed to increase its monthly basic customer charge from $10.40 to $11.92, according to the Utilities Commission.

Dominion has stated that 77 percent of its requested base non-fuel revenue increase represents significant investments in infrastructure, including $1.3 billion to build 1,588 megawatts of new baseload combined cycle generating capacity and $132 million to bring online 56 megawatts of new solar generation in 2016.

Dominion has announced it plans to spend $410 million to bring 240 megawatts of new solar energy between 2019 and 2022. In addition, the company says it plans to invest an additional $200 million in improvements to its transmission system in North Carolina over the next five years.

Public hearings on Dominion's rate increase are slated for July 30 at 7 p.m. at the Halifax County Historic Courthouse in Halifax, July 31 at 7 p.m. at the Martin County Courthouse in Williamston, and Aug. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Dare County Courthouse in Manteo.

Dominion NC Power customers also may submit a written statement to the Utilities Commission by email. The subject line should include the docket number, which is E-22 Sub 562. A link to send an email message is found at www.ncuc.net.

Written comments also may by mailed to the Commission at 4325 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-4300.

A customer may also contact the Public Staff of the N.C. Utilities Commission by email at legal1@psncuc.nc.gov. The Public Staff is a separate, independent agency that represents the using and consuming public in matters before the commission, including rate increase requests.

The commission has scheduled an evidentiary hearing for expert witness testimony which will begin at 2 p.m. on Sept. 23 and likely last for several days. The evidentiary hearing will be held in Commission Hearing Room 2115 in the Dobbs Building, 430 N Salisbury St., Raleigh.

Nucor Steel-Hertford, a steel manufacturer located in Hertford County, has filed a motion to intervene in the proceedings.

“Nucor's interest is not adequately represented by any other party and Nucor should not be consolidated with any party or group of parties,” the manufacturer claims in its filing.

The Carolina Industrial Group for Fair Utility Rates, an association of purchasers of electric power from Dominion NC Power, also filed a petition to intervene in the rate case.

The commission has granted the petitions to intervene for both Nucor and CIGFUR.