Affordable Energy Act continues to advance in General Assembly

Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 8:08 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - High electric bills have gotten the attention of state lawmakers. And legislation they say could make a difference is advancing in the General Assembly.

Senate Bill 1321 and its companion House Bill 1604 would give state regulators more power to review a utility’s base rates – ensuring they are “just and reasonable” while allowing the utility to earn a fair rate of return.

“Madame Chair, I simply ask that our colleagues join us in acting and voting on behalf of our neighbors, the little guys and the little gals, in this simple, and I would say powerful, reassertion of protection for them,” said Del. Lee Ware (R-Powhatan).

The legislation has bipartisan support. And when it came up in a House committee earlier this month, advocates included representatives of the Governor, the Attorney General and groups as diverse as the Virginia Poverty Law Center and Americans for Prosperity.

“We are thankful that this was brought forward again this year,” said Dana Wiggins with the Virginia Poverty Law Center. “Our goal has always been to have ratepayers protected by providing the fairest process possible.”

In the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, members approved the Affordable Energy Act on a vote of 12-0.

The legislation has more votes ahead, but should make it out of the legislature. And representatives of Governor Glenn Youngkin have said he supports the measure.