The Thomas Jefferson Institute this week issued a study on the impacts and costs associated with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional energy tax system to reduce carbon emissions from electric power generators. During the 2019 General Assembly Session, the State Corporation Commission testified before a House subcommittee and stated that if Virginia were to join RGGI, residential customers would see their energy bills increase by up to $144 per year.
From the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy:
Will RGGI membership increase the price for electricity in Virginia?
The staff of the State Corporation Commission has looked at the cost of RGGI compliance on Dominion’s customers and projected substantial increases, citing all three reasons – the carbon tax, the capital cost of restructuring, and the possible loss of off-system sales revenue. It sees the marginal cost of RGGI membership as $6 billion, just for Dominion. The SCC’s conclusions and even its premises have been challenged by advocates and the state DEQ, who note correctly that Dominion has been moving some of its older fossil fuel units toward early retirement already. DEQ’s claims of near-zero cost impact, however, are implausible.
From the State Corporation Commission:
Q. Has the SCC Staff separately analyzed the cost and rate impacts of Virginia participating in RGGI?
A. Yes, SCC Staff estimates that RGGI will impose costs on DEV’s customers. SCC Staff estimates that a typical monthly residential bill will see an average increase between $7 and $12, over the 2019-2043 time period, depending on whether Virginia links to RGGI or joins RGGI. SCC Staff estimates the total cost of linking to RGGI to be about $3.3 billion, SCC Staff estimates the total cost of joining RGGI to be about $5.9 billion.
As Virginia heads into the final stage of the 2019 General Assembly elections, the proposed energy tax scheme will be an issue that draws a clear contrast for voters. Based on their votes, it is clear that Virginia Democrats are accepting of their constituents paying significantly higher energy bills.
House Democrat incumbents and candidates in competitive districts who support the RGGI energy tax scheme include:
- House District 10: Wendy Gooditis (D-Loudoun)
- House District 12: Chris Hurst (D-Montgomery)
- House District 13: Danica Roem (D-Prince William)
- House District 21: Kelly Convirs-Fowler (D-Virginia Beach)
- House District 31: Elizabeth Guzman (D-Prince William)
- House District 34: Kathleen Murphy (D-Fairfax)
- House District 50: Lee Carter (D-Manassas)
- House District 51: Hala Ayala (D-Prince William)
- House District 66: Sheila Bynum-Coleman
- House District 68: Dawn Adams (D-Richmond City)
- House District 72: Schuyler VanValkenburg (D-Henrico)
- House District 93: Mike Mullin (D-Newport News)
The following House Democrat candidates have not yet publicly opposed RGGI, but received an endorsement based on their support for the energy tax-scheme:
- House District 27: Larry Barnett
- House District 28: Joshua Cole
- House District 40: Dan Helmer
- House District 73: Rodney Willett
- House District 76: Clint Jenkins
- House District 83: Nancy Guy
- House District 85: Alex Askew