Virginia lawmakers looking to drive energy costs down

By Mark Tenia Published: January 20, 2016, 6:01 pm


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond resident Aaron Gibson and his wife recently made some improvements to their 100-year-old home in Richmond. Gibson says just adding insulation to the roof cut down on their electric bill considerably.

“You think you might be in good shape and they come in and run the tests and it’s pretty scary how much improvement you could do,” Gibson told 8News reporter Mark Tenia.  “If more people could see the benefits that we’ve seen then I don’t think anyone would hesitate to do it.”

Lawmakers are hoping to help consumers across the state make similar improvements, introducing a bill that would have Virginia join a multi-state group, like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or RGGI, that puts a cap on power plant emissions. Power companies would pay a fee for their emissions, and those fees would go into a fund to help consumers make their homes more energy efficient. Supporters say the energy savings would drive costs down and save everyone money.

Supporters say the energy savings would drive costs down and save everyone money.

“Electricity prices have dropped about 2% compared to an increase in the rest of the nation because of the reduced energy demand,” said Dawone Robinson with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

Advocates say people could save $50 a month, and up to $650 a year on their power bill, but Dominion Virginia Power says it’s not quite on board yet with the plan. In a statement the company says:

“We do have some concerns because it would raise electric rates considerably in Virginia. That would come at a time when dominion’s residential rates are currently 32% below the average of states under the RGGI structure.”

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