McAuliffe signs bill freezing electric utility rate reviews

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Gov. Terry McAuliffe has signed a bill that allows Virginia’s two largest electric utilities to bypass regular base rate reviews for several years. The governor signed the bill Tuesday saying it would be a “net positive” for Virginia. McAuliffe also signed an executive order directing various state agencies to ensure the implementation of parts of the new law aimed at increasing solar energy production and providing aid to low-income electric users. The legislation was largely crafted by Dominion Virginia Power, the state’s largest electric utility. The company said the new law will benefit customers by freezing base rates in place and preventing large rate hikes associated with proposed federal environmental laws or natural disasters. Opponents said the new law will allow Dominion and Appalachian Power to lock in higher-than-necessary rates.

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